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The evolutionary puzzle of homosexuality[edit]

Interesting article. Ajkgordon (talk) 12:08, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Did anybody else already read this article because they clicked on other BBC links in WIGO:World and saw it off to the side? Because I just have to say the BBC deserves props for making me pull a cracked and actually browse their website for more than one article. Shadow of Lords talk 14:17, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Is it so hard to fathom that homosexuality is just a fluke, and not a survival mechanism of some sort? Shit happens, right?--"Shut up, Brx." 15:17, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
No, not really; it relates to reproduction directly, so it would select itself out if the genes involved put a serious damper on reproductive success. I've wondered whether it might be a reaction to overcrowding or other environmental stress, though. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 15:38, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
In this case, homosexuals have historically faced strong social pressures to conform and act straight.--"Shut up, Brx." 16:24, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
You think you know that, since you are so fucking smart? Over, say 100,000 years of evolution, you think you know that? You understand that you are mostly a random piece of toilet paper on this site, right? ħumanUser talk:Human 07:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
This is complicated in the most fascinating manner. Let's imagine several situations: it might be that homosexuality occurs naturally based on some unknown process that can affect *anyone* during development, but that certain people are more prone to it based on their genetics. In this case, you might expect those with genes more prone to it to over time have slightly fewer descendants than those with genes less prone to it, which could lead to a small decrease in overall occurrence in a population. But, if the genes that were more likely to result in homosexuality provide some other benefit to those who aren't homosexual, or having close homosexual relatives is beneficial to child bearing individuals, then it could be positively selected for.
I find the reaction to overcrowding a bit hard to wrap my mind around. It would require some interesting and undiscovered mechanism in which (for example) a pregnant individual, more stressed by an overcrowded environment, reacts and produces a child who is "socially" infertile (does not wish to breed). But, this type of trait, in my understanding, would be selected against, since those with genetics prone to it would have fewer children. Though, I could actually see this working at a population level: a species in which every individual has some chance to, when overcrowded, not producing children or producing effectively infertile children (without some culture that encourages them to breed anyways against their will), might have a better chance of surviving than a species without this trait. This actually reminds me of something I read about some animal species self-aborting when under stress. If a selected-for reaction to overpopulation, that would be amazing. Shadow of Lords talk 16:42, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Weeeeeeell, sheeeeeiiiiit, we've got a badass over here. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:34, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
It's not that hard to imagine as happenstance, no, but a reliable 10%ish rate in people is a large enough trend to be worth investigating scientifically. Evolution is only one theory causes could be found in. It's not unreasonable to see non-genetic congenital, developmental, and learned(and no that doesn't mean "recruiting") mechanics playing in too. The sad thing is that we'll probably see the equivalent of "race realism", where people take a 1 dimensional "scientific" view of homosexuality, fall into place as it becomes more normalized. Ikanreed (talk) 16:57, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
you could argue that in smaller clan groups the alpha male took most of the women for himself and having homosexual males filled a niche for hunters and child support. You could use statistics from prison (and other male only groups) that suggest homosexual activity increases. Hamster (talk) 17:17, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Nice ad-hoc theory. I'd be careful with that sort of thing, because it can lead to biotruthsesque(a red-link, really? Gotta get on that.) post-facto justification of biases. Ikanreed (talk) 18:17, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Dunno what biotruthsesque is, but extrapolating from prisoners' behaviour to hunter gatherer societies seems a bit iffy. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:36, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
From a completely arbitrary webpage that had a definition that's pretty well suited

Biotruths are a kind derisive way to refer to someone who uses misunderstood notions of biology and/or evolutionary psychology to justify heinous, ignorant, and/or bigoted views

That is to say "women are evolved to be domestic" kinda bullshit. Ikanreed (talk) 20:17, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
That would make sense... if this whole "alpha/beta/omega male" thing wasn't complete bollocks even in wolves, let alone humans. Also there is a well established difference between homosexuality (preferring the own gender) and situational sexuality (having sex with the non-preferred gender because the preferred one isn't present). What happens in prisons is the latter. It has no effect on homosexuality. Octo8 (talk) 19:46, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

I was told there is no such thing as fully homosexual or fully heterosexual. We all have different degrees of everything in us. Could that be true? Nullahnung (talk) 20:15, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Only in the same way there is no fully red or fully green colors. You can use incredibly precise definitions that not everyone will agree with, and no one will precisely meet, but day-to-day sexual orientations and preferences exist within reasonable bounds that include large groups of people. — Unsigned, by: Ikanreed / talk / contribs 20:25, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

This is something that has been in the back of my mind for a while. Given that homosexuality in itself is not conducive to propagating one's genes, is it possible that it is correlated with some other trait (or traits) that give evolutionary advantage? I don't recall reading about that but then I haven't looked too hard. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:58, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

if it gave an advantage it should become more common if it is genbetic. It would seem rather that it is not a sufficient disadvantage to be culled from the gene pool and that it might be more of a recessive characteristic. Hamster (talk) 04:19, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
The article goes into a little detail about that, DD. Ajkgordon (talk) 09:11, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Um, well, maybe I should have read it before commenting, but where's the fun in that? Doctor Dark (talk) 13:57, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I don't get this discussion. Homosexuality isn't purely genetic and it also isn't inherited. There are many conditions that cause actual infertility (for example Turner syndrome), yet these still exist in humans and aren't going away. Bismarck (talk) 12:23, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Well, the article is simply explaining how a trait that is partly or wholly genetic but that has potentially negative selection pressures could continue to survive in a population. The article lists a number of ideas which are interesting. It's also interesting to see how complex and subtle these things can be especially when contrasted with the ridiculously simplistic views of those who would use evolution to show that homosexuality must be a choice or how homosexuality must somehow disprove evolution. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:05, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Also, while Turner syndrome is purely genetic, it also isn't inheritable: there are no genes which give an increased likelihood of a child being born with it, it is caused by a mistake during cell division leaving a sperm cell with no sex chromosomes - the problem affects everyone equally but it's so rare that there's no evolutionary pressure to get rid of it. Unlike homosexuality which is present to some degree in a sizeable chunk of the population. Texas Holden (talk) 14:09, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Turner syndrome is simply a flaw in fertilization or mitosis that by definition won't be inherited. Obviously, any genetic defect that results in sterility will not be passed down. Whatever homosexuality is, it is not that. Another possibility that has occurred to me is that, since humans rely so extensively on culture, it might be to the advantage of a population (and therefore of the carriers of the genes that favor it) to include cultural specialists: people who attend less to the tedious business of reproduction and child care, and more to the tending of a society's culture. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 17:01, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm not arguing homosexuality was just like Turner syndrome; my point is that not every biological condition is created through inheritance. As is the case with homosexuality. So it simply cannot be an "evolutionary puzzle", because the operating principle of evolution has little to no bearing on homosexuality. I understand why people would want to defend homosexuality in a societal context, as "helpers in the nest" and such, but it is an argument against a false notion, namely that there were something "naturally" wrong with homosexuality. Bismarck (talk) 04:33, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
But genetics have to play some part. From the article: "Since the early 1990s, researchers have shown that homosexuality is more common in brothers and relatives on the same maternal line, and a genetic factor is taken to be the cause". So maybe not everything is genetics and inheritance, but at least part is. But if some heritable genes are involved, the question of the evolutionary "use" or advantage of those genes does become relevant. Octo8 (talk) 04:58, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I think that the fact that sexual orientation is not something you choose is pretty much a universal human experience. As Lady Gaga quoth, everybody's "born that way." If it isn't somehow innate, if it's a result of some environmental influence, it must be some kind of occult or unpredictable influence, like your horoscope or the way you were potty trained. There is in either case, as the I Ching says, "no blame." That's the important thing. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 05:10, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
There are several non-genetic influences that are innate, i.e. stuff about which you have no choice. That in itself is no proof for heritable genetics being involved. The higher occurence of homosexuality in brothers and relatives on the same maternal line is an indicator, though. Octo8 (talk) 05:14, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
If it's brothers they observed, then social and environmental factors could be just as likely as genetic ones. Since mothers used to play a more active part in child raising that would also explain why it's more noticeable on the maternal line. Alternatively, since homosexuality could be related to the chemical development of the brain in the mother's womb, this could also explain why it tends to pass down the maternal line. The point remains, since homosexuality is not solely determined by genetics/inheritance, evolution relates only tangentially to it. Bismarck (talk) 05:32, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
It may be too presumptive to say there is scientific consensus that homosexuality is at least partly a product a genetics. But it is a mainstream scientific position and generally accepted by many scientists who work in the field. So it is quite normal for them to look for explanations outside genetic inheritance that offset the obvious negative selection pressures. It's interesting. I don't see why you have an issue with this. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:37, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
If homosexuality was a product of genetic inheritance, then a homosexual parent (or two parents) would have a higher probability of giving birth to a homosexual child. That isn't the case though and that's why homosexuality is no "evolutionary puzzle". It is (as of today) a biological puzzle but evolution has little to do with it. Bismarck (talk) 16:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

There appears to be a general assumption that homosexuality is an all or nothing position. In many cultures people have preferred the gay for fun but still reproduced. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. Moderator 10:11, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

So? Homosexuals are perfectly capable of having sex with the other gender; they just prefer not to. If we talk about what causes homosexuality, we talk about what causes one to have homosexual but no heterosexual desires. If the desires are then acted upon is a completely different question that has more to do with human free will than any genetics or other possible causes. Octo8 (talk) 11:58, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
omosexuals are perfectly capable of having sex with the other gender I'm not sure that's true. For one, getting it up might be a problem for a lot of guys. Secondly, having sex with the other gender might be so extremely distasteful that no, they can't simply choose to do so--"Shut up, Brx." 14:19, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
You are the dumbest person on this planet. Why people still let you let edit here... is only because we let everyone edit here, no matter how stupid they may be. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:19, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Brother Bricks, while I agree that "they" might not simply be able to choose to do so, I know a few functional adults who had a gay parent. It happens... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:42, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Look at history, brx. Given historical attitudes towards homosexuality, at least in Europe, do you really think every married man and woman were actually heterosexual? And this goes doubled so for ruling dynasties, were people were simply expected to have children. The rumours about William II of Germany are surely at least partially true, yet he managed to father several children. And I suspect the same holds true for those cultures Genghis Khant mentioned. I mean, he more or less stated it himself: If you have homosexual sex for fun and heterosexual sex for reproductive duty... than, yeah, chances are you're homosexual ;) Octo8 (talk) 14:51, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I should have been clearer, I certainly don't mean that all homosexuals are incapable of having sex with the opposite sex. I was rather saying that it is possible that some cannot. I certainly didn't mean to make a broad generalization.--"Shut up, Brx." 14:57, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
If it be true that everybody has some degree of bisexuality, maybe all they did was channel their bisexual part. That's certainly what I would try to do if I had to. Nullahnung (talk) 20:58, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Rather than asking where homosexuality comes from, maybe we should ask where heterosexuality comes from? While I don't deny the possibility that there may be a genetic component to heterosexuality, I think much of it is learned behaviour. In a society where there is so much pressure to be heterosexual, is it so surprising that the majority of people succumb to that pressure and turn out heterosexual? Which implies that as the pressure to be heterosexual is decreasing over time, the proportion of the population who are heterosexual will likely also decline. To some degree, this is already happening, but more so for women than men - many studies are finding that rates of female non-heterosexuality have increased in recent years, and I suspect will continue to increase (some of this is just more reporting, but I believe some of it is actual changes in feelings/behaviours/identities); male non-heterosexuality has not seen so substantial an increase, in part because contemporary Western society is so much more accepting of female non-heterosexuality than of male non-heterosexuality. But I think that is just a particularity of contemporary culture, rather than something deeper - by contrast, in ancient Greek and Rome it was the other way around, there male non-heterosexuality was significantly more socially acceptable than female non-heterosexuality. (((Zack Martin))) 09:52, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Not sure what you said - not even sure you know what you said - but boys touching boys is still less acceptable than girls touching girls, in our homophobic world. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:35, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
As this survey posted on our WIGO shows, only just over 5% of Americans identify as LGBT. My unsubstantiated inference is that most people are actually somewhere between the extreme ends of the Kinsey scale and choosing to identify with the more socially acceptable option rather than acknowledge that they're queer.Vajrapani (talk) 03:35, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
And no, heterosexuality is not learned behavior, neither is homosexuality. My own sexual awakening came at an age well before informed opinion in the wider society would have thought that I had ought to. Most people seem to report similar experiences. It's one thing to be expected to conform to a heterosexual norm; something entirely different awakens sexual thoughts in young people well before they're considered plausible candidates to act on them. Were sexuality something learned, you might learn another. This does not happen. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 03:43, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Sexuality is taught, mostly. Most people use it once or twice then resign from the fun after making some babies. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:35, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Random thought[edit]

I don't know about other people, but when I hear the word "government" (or the equivalent word in other languages), the word, to me, evokes some kind of monolithic entity. The Esperanto word for "government" is not a derivative of some form of the word "government", but a compound word, "estraro", which literally means "group of leaders" (estr = leader, ar = group). "The government ordered a bombing" becomes in Esperanto the equivalent of "The rulers of the country ordered a bombing," so that you immediately think of the people in charge, rather than just some vague structure named "the government". But maybe it's just me. It's just that I never thought of the word "government" that way before learning the word "estraro".--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 00:43, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

You know Esperanto?! Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 00:57, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but I'm non-political (i.e., I don't believe in that "Esperanto should conquer the world!" stuff.)--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 02:54, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I tend to not fully believe in the idea of linguistic relativity, basically because I've become bilingual over the recent years and don't think the fact changed my way of thinking very much. That is to say, I believe language is only an expression of thoughts, but of course, if one is never introduced to a certain concept because that person's natural language doesn't have words for that concept, then it naturally influences the way the person thinks. In that case, however, the limitation lies in the lack of conceptualisation, rather than a supposed determinism of language. Anyway, to me, the term "government" ver much changes its meaning depending on the form of government in question. In a representative democracy, the actions of the government represent the will of the populace to some degree. The same goes for a government, even an authoritarian one, levied into power by a popular mass movement, like say the Nazi regime. In contrast, the recently ousted regime in Ukraine obviously didn't reprsent the will of the populace very much and could be understood more as a "monolithic entity". According to a libertarian mindset, government is always a monolithic entity, and an evil one at that. In the end, it all depends, and some concepts are probably best described by more accurate language than a single word. In reverse, it wouldn't be very wise to understand words describing complex concepts as suggestive of simple meanings. Bismarck (talk) 09:55, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Has anybody else noticed…[edit]

How goddamn vengeful and violent people are on the Internet? I mean, there'll be pictures of crimes and bad stuff, even things just like dumping a girlfriend harshly or leaving a dog in a car, and you'll see everybody saying things like "castrate them, feed them their testicles, then disembowel them, hang them with their intestines, then burn their house down and blow up their family". And, I mean, it's not just anonymous trolls and wingnuts, you see otherwise perfectly nice looking people all over Facebook, getting sometimes hundreds of "likes"- meanwhile, there's me, who loves despises pretty much all forms of violence and vengeance. I mean, does this seem somewhat disturbing to anybody else, or am I just an over-sensitive whiny baby? 666.666.666.666- Hail Satan 12:25, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Personally, I'm not averse to the idea of retribution. It should of course ideally be handled through the official institutions, but in turn they must have retribution as one of their goals. And yes, when official justice fails, others forms may now and then be justified. Octo8 (talk) 14:19, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Why do you even take a closer look at these parts of the internet? Don't. That's what I do and I'm blissfully unaware of the extent of this type of hate. Ignorance is a wonderful thing when it comes to things that are just wasting your time, since you don't derive any enjoyment or usefulness from them. Nullahnung (talk) 14:23, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
*Drops microphone*. Zero (talk) 14:30, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Nullahnung, often, those parts of the internet come to you. A social networking site such as Facebook, ostensibly for catching up with friends and acquaintances, and even meeting new people, is such a place full of verbal violence. Twitter is another example. The so-called "bottom half of the internet," comment sections beneath articles and posts, is also such a place. Imagine you just wanted to discuss an article you just read with fellow readers, only to be assailed by flaming and trolling.

You're thinking this is a phenomenon limited to 4chan. I'm afraid it's not.--"Shut up, Brx." 14:41, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

You are right, and that's why I barely use Facebook for anything except chatting with friends, and why I often skip reading the comment section under articles. Nullahnung (talk) 17:15, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
See also: Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory by John Gabriel. Basically, anonymity plus an audience equals a total fuckwad. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 14:54, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
And there's the fact that this isn't an internet unique phenomenon. A lot of people don't see any facet of justice besides petty revenge. And you can find these people and talk to them in real life, and they're still just as horrid. Ikanreed (talk) 15:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
In response to Octo8, I would like to say that I view vengeance and justice as almost completely seperate. While I occasionally am sorta fine with retribution (as long as it causes no significant harm), I really do not feel particularly comfortable with the idea myself, instead holding responsibility and rehabilitation as the most important areas of justice. Now, how far that applies to, say, a serial rapist, or a repeated domestic abuser, is a bit less clear. But that's just my two cents. 666.666.666.666- Hail Satan 15:06, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Brx: There's also (some parts of) reddit. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 15:14, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, but those people exist, Cal. You serial rapists, repeated domestic abusers, mass killers... to say nothing about war criminals and so on. I'm not trying to be all "law and order" here, I'm not saying we should look petty thieves and so on away forever. But there are some people on this world who just are simply vile, who are not just habitual lowlevel or petty criminals. And thus they must factor into our considerations as well. Octo8 (talk) 15:26, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
I duno if it's about vengeance per se. Internet comment sections are havens for the desperate-to-impress; they need to have the loudest mouths and the most extreme opinions about everything. Leuders (talk) 15:35, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
One can easily encounter these types in real life; just ask around, for example, what people consider appropriate punishment for paedophiles. I personally believe paedophiles should be imprisoned in closed institutions until responsive to therapy, but that's not what others envision. Some quite popular ideas are that paedophiles should be publicly lynched and/or have their genitalia mutilated. As I said, these are sentiments people readily espouse without any protection from anonymity. It basically shows that people only need to be presented with an acceptable opportunity, in this case a condition which renders a person subhuman in their eyes, to think about, support or commit evil deeds. Bismarck (talk) 09:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Evil is a malleable concept. If a person was going around stabbing people with a needle containing HIV/knowingly having AIDS and sex with lots of people, is that horrid enough for capital punishment? What would be horrid enough for capital punishment? I personally am against capital punishment in principle, but I can understand why people find it acceptable. Nullahnung (talk) 09:37, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Nothing could possibly justify capital punishment in my society, that's why we have Protocol 13. Capital punishment made sense in an environment in which society had no better options, basically if your society hasn't invented jail, or can't afford to run a working jail, you may need capital punishment simply to protect yourselves, an extension of the right to use lethal force to protect lives. But once you've thought of somewhere to put these dangerous elements, and you can afford to run it, you have a moral obligation to choose that rather than killing them. Our societies did not follow this model (most of Western Europe continued to execute criminals into the 20th century) but they are the worse for that, just as they are the worse for having permitted slavery and some of us are rightly ashamed of that. Tialaramex (talk) 11:47, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
how much better off would society be without the hhuge expense of building, maintaining and running a prison for inmates who will never be released ? Hamster (talk) 15:24, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Heaven forbid that decisions on capital punishment should come down to economics but it's more expensive to execute a criminal than to imprison them for life. Seriously. Placeholder (talk) 15:32, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
EC -- I guess that depends on whether or not you live in a society that values money more than it values people. TeenageWasteland (talk) 15:33, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it should could come down to cost. Personally, I'm opposed to the death penalty for merely pragmatic reasons - i.e., the risk of innocents getting killed is just too high. But purely ethically, I'd have no objections. Some people simply deserve death, or worse. Octo8 (talk) 15:55, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
It is part of the business of governments that from time to time they kill people. Whether or not they have a death penalty, they all have officers authorized to use deadly force. Almost all of them maintain armies. All of them are ready to kill people if need be. I doubt that the death penalty deters any damned thing -- that seems to assume that people can actually voluntarily control their behavior, and we know how well that works in practice. It still strikes me as pure moral cowardice to not execute somebody like Breivik; quite simply, that son of a bitch deserves to die. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 16:10, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I absolutely agree. A simple death would even be too good for him. But you can't just shoot Breivik. That would be a major breach of the rule of law, which is, well, a very good thing. And to revamp the entire penal law of Norway just for him would a) be exaggerated and b) bring with it the above mentioned risks of having the death penalty on the books. Octo8 (talk) 16:13, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
EC --> Why? What good will it do? I guess I'm guilty of some sort of reverse-Godwin here: had the Allies captured Hitler alive, had Stalin been brought to trial for the Holodomor, had Mao or Pol Pot been brought to justice for their crimes, I would have thought it wrong to execute those men, never mind a man guilty of a single terrorist attack. TeenageWasteland (talk) 16:17, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Basically, those people are not good for anything anymore. If all social use they still have is to bring a smile on the face of their victims when they are killed, well, then that is at least something. Now I know not all victims want this, yes, especially in Breivik's case, but I'm sure some do. I would. So why? Basically, empathy with the victims. Octo8 (talk) 16:20, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
So, you don't want justice, you want revenge. Placeholder (talk) 16:21, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Same thing. What else is "justice", oh you on your high horse? Define it then, in a way that does not involve retribution! Besides, while it's so high and mighty to say one wants justice, not revenge, this seems like callously ignoring the victims of such people to me. Some people have suffered so goddamn from other people they plain deserve revenge if they want it. Octo8 (talk) 16:24, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
No matter what the circumstances are, being the party who endures a wrongful act, results in your seeking either of these two things: Justice or revenge. What are the key differences between the two? Justice is basically defined as the concept of moral rightness, which is based on the rules of fairness, ethics, equality and law. Revenge, on the other hand, refers to an action taken by an individual as a response to a wrongdoing.

So, completely different. And this is why we aspire to impartial judges - to seek justice, not revenge. Placeholder (talk) 16:30, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Read that quote again. By that definition states using the death penalty are not revenge, as long as they adhere to the rule of law. And neither is the attitude I've displayed, since I also think this should go through official institutions under the rule of law whenever possible. That definition merely defines self-justice/vigilantism as "revenge", not any emotions or attitudes that want to see the perpetrator suffer. What I've said above, and what you've called revenge would, by that definition not be revenge! Octo8 (talk) 16:33, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Sorry but bollocks - your suggestion that a benefit of capital punishment is to put a smile on the faces of the victims is all about revenge. It's all about "I suffered so he must suffer" which is revenge. Justice is "he did wrong and hence must suffer". Placeholder (talk) 16:38, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
That's one hell of a hairsplitting argument. What does "he did wrong" mean, in the end? That people suffered under "his" actions. Victimless crimes should not be crimes anyway. So in either case, it's, neutrally formulated, "People suffered, and the person who caused that must suffer". And yes, ideally, this should go through official courts and the like. But that is not an argument against the death penalty as such, now is it? Using your own chain of logic here, the death penalty, if done in a system under the rule of law, is justice, not revenge. Octo8 (talk) 16:41, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, and let's look at those countries that still have capital punishment. I, for one, am proud that we here in the UK dropped such barbarism decades ago. As Ghandi - oft quoted - said, an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. Placeholder (talk) 16:47, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
at the end of 'do the right thing', that quote is attributed to MLK AMassiveGay (talk) 16:56, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
There seems to be some debate on this. I think the MLK attribution is better documented - whether he was quoting Ghandi or not is moot. I'll take MLK as a moral leader any day. Placeholder (talk) 17:03, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I suspect simply that a legal system that does not scratch the itch for revenge may not be making a necessary concession to human weakness. Our moral sense, after all, is not really voluntary; we were all born with mental machinery designed to place us in a social matrix. A desire for revenge is one aspect of those moral senses. It is, in fact, one of the problems; most murderers fancy themselves as righteous avengers, including Breivik himself. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 17:08, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh hey, look, shifting the goalposts. You still have not managed to produce a definition of "justice" that doesn't involve retribution. Simply calling the death penalty "barbarism" does not make your point any righter. Octo8 (talk) 17:09, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Vengeance is personal, i.e. the punishment is made to satisfy the victim. Justice is to satisfy only the law. That seems to be the common difference in definition anyway. There are some countries where the victim's desire for the criminal's punishment is taken directly into account in the sentencing, including in the US in some cases, I think? This does blur the line between the two, yes. Ajkgordon (talk) 17:22, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Thing is, if you use that definition, just about everything Placeholder has called "revenge" in the discussion isn't actually. But instead of admitting that, he simply shifted to another, unrelated argument. Octo8 (talk) 17:33, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Is revenge really supposed to be natural, a mere human weakness? Or is it a social phenomenon to begin with? I'd argue it's more of the latter. While "he hurt me, so I'm going to hurt him back" appears to be a somewhat natural defence mechanism, "he hurt a family member, so I'm going to hurt him back, but after some time has passed" doesn't appear very natural, at least not to me. Anyway, I disagree that justice meant someone was supposed to "suffer" for committing a crime. To me the punishment is part of the rehabilitation. But if a person can't learn from a mistake then they might as well be locked away forever. I believe crimes are only committed for five reasons: out of need, out of pleasure/greed, out of compulsion, by accident and out of insanity. The first four can be rehabilitated (the first needing material support and the second psychological) and the fifth is considered innocent anyway. I wouldn't apply capital punishment in any case. Bismarck (talk) 17:48, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Humans' capacity to build human societies is, of course, natural and innate; and revenge flows from some of the routines we have to build them. We remember people who have injured or slighted us; this is the flip side of human social cooperativeness, which would be ineffectual if it did not have something going on to identify and shun the non-cooperator. It's on account of this empathy and social solidarity that we can persuade our fellow humans to join in shunning the offender as well. This business of shunning, shaming, and ostracizing offenders is something that we share with chimpanzees and baboons. So yes, "he hurt a family member, so I'm going to hurt him back, but after some time has passed" is an expression of a series of human instincts. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 18:09, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
If our whole society/culture is deemed natural, then the term loses all meaning. Bismarck (talk) 18:18, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── In that case, it probably never meant much in the beginning. How could it be possible that any part of human society is "unnatural?" It is as unreasonable to expect that fruit flies are the authors of their own destinies as it is to expect that humans are. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 18:26, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Of course, one should be careful about using "it's natural" as an argument, what with the whole is-ought-problem. But it's legitimate here: Society (and the state, being society organized) must take certain needs of the people into account. Anyway, Bismarck, I think you misunderstood me. It isn't about family members or other associates at all. If you can understand "he hurt me, so he should hurt, too", then isn't it only logical to sympathize with victims, even victims you have no connections with, and wish that their own wish for vengeance come true, too? Just as a matter of inter-human empathy. Octo8 (talk) 18:30, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
It's a common understanding that the term "natural" means the opposite of "artificial", where artificial means intentionally created by man. Saying that, because humans are natural, then everything they do is natural may be true. But it's robbing our language of a distinction and surely isn't very helpful. Nobody would describe an Airbus A380 as natural, even though all its materials and the humans that designed and built it came from the natural planet Earth. Ajkgordon (talk) 18:38, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
@Smerdis: The distinction between nature (the bio-physical entity) and culture (the social entity) is quite old; I don't think there is much reason to get rid of it yet, even if we take determinism for granted. @Octo: Revenge implies at least a modicum of planning and reflection. I think this is where it differs from self defence (and also does so in legal practice). The inter-human empathy supposed to rationalise revenge, can just as well rationalise forgiveness, since the perpetrator is also a human being. Bismarck (talk) 18:45, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Bismarck: The inter-human empathy supposed to rationalise revenge, can just as well rationalise forgiveness, since the perpetrator is also a human being. This is why calming the human moral instincts and mortifying the urge to outrage and offense is about the only kind of moral progress that's possible. The human moral instincts are one of the things that make them dangerous wild animals, and why it's unwise to rile or spook them. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 19:33, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Article suggestion - Historical accuracy of the Bible[edit]

Hi I tried adding this as a suggestion on "To Do List" but the page is locked.

My idea is for an article which debunks common claims by Biblical literalists that there is historical evidence for Biblical events (ex. Moses parting the sea, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the resurrection of Christ, the Shroud of Turin, etc etc). It'd be similar to articles debunking common creationist claims but it would extend to all Biblical events which fundies claim there is historical evidence for.

It could also debunk common claims from fundies about the Bible prophesying future events or discoveries (ex. some fundies apparently believe nonense such as the Bible telling people millennia ago to "wash their hands" was a prediction of the discovery of germs, or that the Bible saying that "the stars are too numerous to count" was a prediction that was "proven true" with the invention of the telescope, etc)

I'm not sure what the title of the article would be. I would call it "HIstorical accuracy of the Bible" - or something similar.--Ace777 (talk) 05:46, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

The protection is only "autoconfirmed", so give it a few days.
Yeah, an overview might be good. There's bits in various places, e.g. Evidence for the Exodus and Historical Jesus - David Gerard (talk) 08:49, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

What if I die?[edit]

So, I was just going around, reading pages about feminism and stuff, when I thought, "Heh, haven't seen KnightOfTL;DR for a while". And so I checked her user contributions, and there haven't been any since September. And now I can't help but wonder- what if she died? What if I die? How will anyone here ever know? Do, like, family members of editors go online and tell everybody? Does the system automatically assume it after X amount of time without edits? Because I'm kinda sad that if I was to die, all of my favourite people here would have no idea. Oh, and does anyone actually know what happened to Knight? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 23:01, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Susan died about two years or so ago. A friend of hers told us, eventually. It's been years but I am still working to get over losing her. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:16, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Knight blogs on Tumblr practically every day. Along with Ty, Dumpling, and me, as well. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:04, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, that's good- could you link to her Tumblr please? And anyway, why'd she quit RW? And what will happen to my account if I die? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 23:13, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
(EC) It's an interesting thing about online communities that even prolific members can all but disappear with little notice. Sometimes, perhaps some months or years later, a member of the community might notice and say "hey, whatever happened to X?", but often that's far after the fact. Of course, often there exist other members of the community who may have a closer connection to X and might know where they went, or at the very least at least know that they went, but that's never guaranteed either. - Grant (Talk) 23:16, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
On fifteensquared we missed a frequent contributor. Turned out, after some questions from those who cared, he had suffered a stroke. It was so nice when he came back, at first a little clumsily, but then soon with full steam. Here? No one will notice, no one will care, pretty much. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:20, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Would anybody notice if it happened to me? I mean, I'm not the most notable, recognisable or well-respected user, but I have a couple of good friends (well, I've never actually met any "IRL", but whatever), I guess, like you, Nullahnung, RNS and a few other people. Also, if I'm ever away for more than a month, just shoot me an email, and I'll probably respond within a couple of weeks or so. But yeah, that is still kinda depressing, if you ask me. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 23:39, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Chances are I would just assume you were suddenly really busy and gave up on visiting the site, tbh. It is not in my nature to think of the worst possible outcome. Nullahnung (talk) 23:50, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I guess that makes sense. I, on the other hand, am just a naturally pessimistic person. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 23:57, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
This reminds me of what happened with TK... Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 23:47, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, how did you find out about him? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 23:52, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Just through reading on here, after the fact. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 23:54, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

We have a "shrine" for honouring RW editors who have left the site (though only a couple of them are known to have actually departed this world). It's been neglected for the last couple of years but a few of us have added new entries in the last few days for editors who've stopped showing up recently. As Grant says, it can be a while before you really notice that somebody isn't around any more. As for knowing whether anything has happened to them, it kind of depends on how much they interact with editors offsite on email, social media, etc. A lot of editors do & a lot of editors don't. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:36, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Indeed. Long ago I used to play a particularly popular online game, and I met quite a few people through there. Some I connected with through email and Facebook and what-not as well; others, I did not. I first noticed this phenomenon when something exactly like this happened. I realized that I couldn't remember the last time I had seen one of the people with whom I didn't connect out of the game. Alas, it appears he didn't connect with anyone else either, as I never found out what happened to him. I think the shrine is a great idea, as are the "surprising absences" stats that have been posted here before. - Grant (Talk) 00:52, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
If you're worried about what will happen to your account if you die, first of all, you should let your family and friends know that you're an editor at RationalWiki and what your user name is. On your deathbed (assuming that you're not suddenly carried off by an accident without having time to talk to anyone), tell your loved ones your password and ask them to edit your user page to indicate you've passed on. Or request they do that in your will. Wikipedia has an "RIP" userbox for family and friends to add to the pages of deceased editors. If wikis are still around 50 years from now, having died will probably be a common reason for an editor not contributing anymore. Right now, being busy with work or studies, suddenly getting a sex life and simply losing interest are more usually the explanation. And you don't have to worry about your account dying on you. Take a few years off, if you like, then log in and start again as if nothing had happened. Spud (talk) 16:07, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I think that some of these answers are very blasé. I feel that what would happen to my Rational Wiki status in the event of my death is a very important concern. I lie in bed wracked with angst-ridden questions like "Would they notice?" and "Would they care?". I have now included an instruction in my will along with my password instructing my solicitor of the actions to take so that RW is advised of my demise.
To be doubly sure I have made two copies of my will - one of which is held in a fire-resistant, earthquake-proof safe buried in a glacier in Antarctica. My single remaining is worry of possible damage to the glacier as a consequence of global warming.
There seems to be no real end to my problems. Why is life so difficult?--Coffee (talk) 16:24, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I have LANCB from one or two online fora, just disappeared without comment, for reasons obvious to anyone who cared and was watching. In every case it was because I had finally had enough of an admin/owner being a dick. In one case the owner emailed me with a "you know you want to come back" message. I told him I wished him well, along with the other forumites, and stayed away. In that light, I tend to put anything I say online in terms that I would be content with being my last comment on the subject. I often like to leave openings for further discussion, but without the assumption that ongoing discussion will need my input.
@Messiah of Doom, while I have made a few friends on line, I reserve my serious emotional investment for a very few people close to me in real life. There have been some dry spells, some lonely times that weren't fun, but in this present moment I'm thankful to say there are enough people around to keep me more or less sane. Be well, Alec Sanderson (talk) 01:59, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

I am happy to report that I am alive and well[edit]

I am now unfortunately underemployed, so I can squeeze contribution in now and them. Might even dust WIGObot off this weekend and clean up the archives up. - π 07:26, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

You might want to report on your alive and wellness at [1]! Sorry to hear about the undereverything, but it's sure nice to hear from you again! ħumanUser talk:Human 08:41, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

You may have already heard this, but...[edit]

Protestors attack a private Google bus in protest against the gentrification of the Bay Area. I actually think this is dumb. Attacking some low level Google employees won't actually do anything to hurt Google very much. (I also don't get the outrage against Google buses. In my country, it's actually commonplace.)--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:51, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

But the people aren't actually against Google per se. They protest against gentrification. Which is helped by those busses: They make commuting easier, leading to gentrification in places that normally wouldn't be affected. Without that nice help by Google to its employees, those employees maybe wouldn't seek living space in Oakland, and hence rents wouldn't go up so dramatically there. Of course, as always with protests against gentrification, the problem is there is no clear solution to the problem of it: You can't really make demand (in this case demand for living space) go away. Octo8 (talk) 01:56, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. Simply protesting buses will not make gentrification magically go away.
The city I live in (Santo Domingo) underwent massive gentrification in the early and mid 2000s (and it's still going on!). I am lucky enough to come from an affluent family, so I don't get the ill effects (the inner city condo I live in will tell you so), but it did make the city a nicer place... at the expense of the surrounding provinces (provinces are not that big in my country) and the outlying munincipalities.
It was a (and still is) a huge deal, and nobody still has a clear solution. Reactions were similar to this, blaming corporations, the government, whatever. In the end, nothing could be done and people just sucked it up. It's still going on with no solution in sight.
Protesting people making a honest day's work for a honest day's pay will not do anything in the long run, really (and here it's actually perfectly legal for the bus driver to mace them). Targeting them is not a very good approach.
(And for those of you in English-speaking countries: Yes, the inner city, or city center is the richest part of town. Also, yes, bold and italic because it was that dramatic.) --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 02:28, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Gentrification is a difficult problem. On the one hand, there's no doubt that rising real estate prices put unreasonable pressure on lower and middle class families. On the other hand, however, there's also very little doubt that the influx of wealthier individuals that accompanies such gentrification can really boost the economy of a town/city. The city I currently live in has seen a steady process of gentrification for the last twenty years, and the beneficial changes to the city in general are quite obvious. The real question is: how do we set up support networks such that we can get the positive benefits of gentrification without significantly impacting those who can't afford it? It's a tough question. - Grant (Talk) 02:35, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
ECFrom what I understand, the more small-scale issue is that the buses are using public-infrastructure, namely bus stops, to help run a for-profit enterprise without contributing to the costs of the infrastructure. TeenageWasteland (talk) 02:37, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
The problem with gentrification is the pressure it puts on less financially well off tenants. So one solution could be to strengthen their rights: Landlords can't kick them out that easily, can't raise rents that easily or can't do renovations or other stuff that easily that would give them a justification to raise rents. That way, more affluent people can come in, if they find living space, but the old inhabitants are protected to a degree. Octo8 (talk) 04:18, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Lol, you just described what they used to call "rent control". Wow. Take me back to the early 80s... Nice one. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:50, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
It's weird how the people opposing gentrification almost immediately take the xenophobic view of opposing those moving into their area instead of the (absence of) laws regulating landlords' ability to raise the rent. Human nature, I guess. Bismarck (talk) 04:35, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
That's very cute, how you used the word "xenophobic," as if to imply that the people whose arrival is gentrifying a neighborhood are being greeted with scorn because of what they are (as though they were the victims of racism or some other form of bigotry) as opposed to being greeted with scorn because of what they do, like use superior wealth and power to change the relationship between poor people and their homes. TeenageWasteland (talk) 04:41, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
TW, hate is hate regardless of your actual motive. It's very clear he used it as an analogy rather than the literal meaning.
@Bismarck: Every single debate I've had on gentrification always goes in very weird tangents like the aforementioned xenophobia, or libertarianism, or communism. Then again, I seem to inexplicably attract plenty of crazies in real life. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 04:58, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I generally try to embrace the "love everybody" attitude. But I think it's okay to hate people who are deliberately screwing you over, at least a little bit. TeenageWasteland (talk) 05:05, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Ascribing nefarious motives ("use superior wealth and power to change the relationship between poor people and their homes") to people moving into your neighbourhood is exactly what makes this analogous to xenophobia. If you live in a nice neighbourhood then people will want to move there. Nobody's reason for moving homes is to screw over the poor. Bismarck (talk) 05:52, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Your friendly neighborhood reactionary here. There is a great deal to be said in favor of the concepts of a just priceWikipedia and a moral economyWikipedia. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 05:45, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
It's interesting that Google didn't try to build housing for all these workers. Remember when game-changing people-oriented companies used to build whole towns for their workers? My sister lives in one of those towns, it had to re-invent itself because of course the factory it was built to serve closed down and is now a museum. I am told that while "Google don't pay as much to use this bus stop as I'd pay to park my truck there" (which is a rather disingenuous argument equating a parking fine with the cost to the city of sharing the bus stops, and also pretends not to notice the bus company is an entirely separate entity) is the small problem that promotes direct action, the underlying problem is good old racism. Property developers don't want to build communities for non-white people. The old solution (literally write "no blacks" in the title paperwork) is now illegal, so they've gone with an alternative which is just to refuse to build anything cheap at all and rely on the fact that blacks tend to be poorer. So you've got a situation where poorer families are under pressure to move out, but there's nowhere to move to, the city made refusing to let them buy or rent illegal, but it didn't make pricing them out of the whole area illegal... The way they explain it there's plenty of crazy to go around, as the age of the automobile looks to be ending these cities also have policies that require off-road parking with new builds. So a block of apartments intended for workers who can't afford a car must by law have say two parking spaces per apartment, using almost as much real estate as the apartments themselves just in case they all buy two anyway. Pushing up housing prices to work around a bug in policies from fifty years ago that saw the rise of private car ownership in the first place. Tialaramex (talk) 11:14, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Property developers don't want to build communities for non-white people. - OK, I'm from the UK and our racial problems are different but as far as I am aware the only thing property developers are interested in is profit. The racial mix of their customers is irrelevant beyond the historic fact that non-whites tend to be poorer and therefore less profitable. I think you're seeing racism where there is none. Placeholder (talk) 12:09, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Public housing projects are largely considered failures nowadays, therefore the governments doesn't really do that any more. What is of course commonly ignored is that many aspects factored into these failures, for example that many people living in projects were also unemployed. In that regard building whole new city blocks alone isn't very helpful. But naturally it would still make sense for the government to build residential buildings here in there. Because hardly anybody else is building low-cost accomodation, not out of racism, but because these are less profitable. (Universities may build some dorms but even those are getting more posh, since higher education has become a luxury again anyway.) So the effect is that the rent is too damn high, but as always, this isn't a problem to everyone, i.e. to those who profit from the fact and they are usually also the ones with the capacity to build new houses. It's just an ordinary conflict of interest; one that should be solved with some common sense and without accusing each other of harbouring foul motives. Bismarck (talk) 12:41, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Right right, I'm sure the change in the law fixed racism. That's how it works right? You pass a law and the bigotry magically dissipates. Tialaramex (talk) 13:13, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Who said that? You're building a strawman. The mechanism described by you has more to do with greed and classism than racism. Nobody is specifically out to get blacks, it's just that blacks suffer because they happen to be poorer on average. Octo8 (talk) 13:16, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
No need for a man of straw, the argument we have here is either that when openly racist terms were forbidden and rendered unenforceable, the problem went away or (ridiculously) the claim that those terms weren't really racist, that people wrote "black" meaning "poor" because they just didn't know any words for poor, it being such an obscure part of the English vocabulary...
The existence of prejudice against gays, or poor people or even women does not mean that actually the racists were secretly just trying to keep out the gays, or the poor people or the women. My estate agent tells me the price of a man's honour is typically about £10 000 in today's money (the crazy English law of property means house sales take a prolonged time after an offer seems to be accepted, during which either side can pull out because they found a better deal) but I dare say plenty of racist Americans have passed up a lot more than £10 000 rather than help someone because they didn't like the colour of their skin. It's a good test though, if you need one. A merely greedy person would put four $1M houses on a plot rather than twenty $190k houses. But you may need another explanation for why they'd rather build four $1M houses than twenty $210k houses. Tialaramex (talk) 17:54, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Ah, but the existence of racism does mean all the real estate agents involved in gentrification just want to keep out the blacks? Suuure. It's all a big racist conspiracy... Octo8 (talk) 08:49, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
The estate agents were responsible for red-lining so sure, why not. Remember that ordinary conspiracies (unlike grand conspiracies) are quite real, they just require a few people to co-operate without the knowledge of others. But actually we're not talking about a practice equivalent to red-lining, in that era the stock existed and you'd just tell black people it wasn't available, which was indeed down to the agencies, there were probably white people selling homes who never knew their agency was quietly turning away people with cash as "undesirable" based on the colour of their skin. What we're talking about today is new development, which is about big-scale politics, to get a new suburb built means getting a lot of people to say OK, if they drag their feet long enough it'll never happen. And that means a handful of powerful people can quietly ensure that cheaper housing doesn't happen. A conspiracy, in a way, but a very modest one. An unshackled free market would build a lot of cheap homes, because it can sell them above their real value to people desperate to buy such homes (either to live in, or to rent to other people) and thus equilibrium is restored, but an unshackled property market is a disaster so we can't allow it, and in choosing not to allow it we provide a lot of opportunities for even a minority of racists to nudge things in a way that makes their city a little whiter every day.
There's a site near me which should have a bunch of such cheaper housing, as a condition of approval for other work. The other work (commercially very lucrative) got done as soon as permission was agreed, crews arrived the next day and built continuously until it was done. The housing remains just some drawings on paper. The developer can't build anything else on the land, at least not for a few years, but the commercial work was lucrative enough to buy it and leave it fenced off and useless as part of the sham. The storms tore away some of the fencing a couple of weeks back, revealing the wilderness inside. I notice that the pretence it's "under construction" inside has passed and nobody repaired the 2 metres high fences. Tialaramex (talk) 11:27, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
"It's interesting that Google didn't try to build housing for all these workers. Remember when game-changing people-oriented companies used to build whole towns for their workers?" Goddammit Tialaamex, are you really that naïve? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 14:47, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
What? Actually I think it's pretty obvious why Google didn't do that, they don't expect to be around long enough for it to matter. The mill owners and suchlike, who built cheap worker housing (that today goes for a small fortune because it's so "authentic" and has "character" despite being small and totally impractical for a modern household) because they needed somewhere for workers to live and nobody had invented the "Google bus" expected their mills to stand for a thousand years. They may do, but the machinery is long gone, a "fully automatic" loom has nothing on the mass-production of fabrics today, and needed many times more workers). Google know they'll be a dinosaur by 2050 and half-forgotten by turn of the century. Tialaramex (talk) 17:54, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Public housing largely failed because the way it was done was all wrong. Many inner city neighborhoods of the sort they wished to go away were at least partially functioning neighborhoods. Moving the people who lived there into high rise apartments in the Rectangular Monolith Style meant wrecking those neighborhoods and moving the people into buildings that were not neighborhoods. There were at least eyes looking out onto the streetcorner in the old place; that just doesn't work in a Bauhaus box. So all the social pathologies that were kept partially in check in the old tenements run rampant in the empty corridors and closed doors and windows of the high rise. What failed these people is Planning. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 15:50, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Where did you read that theory? I grew up in a tiny village and nobody there ever bothered to "look out onto the streetcorner". Well, at least not unless those pesky children were playing their noisy football games again. What we did have however was plenty of animosity towards the few people who dared moving to our village. Beating up the one immigrant kid was like a communal sport. That regular occurrance took place unobstructed from any streetcorner observers though. Hooray for closely intertwined communities, I guess! Bismarck (talk) 17:09, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Go read Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities, or read about the history of the Pruitt-Igoe complex. Successful urban environments have mixed uses in close proximity, according to the theory. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 18:07, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
No, I get that housing projects were planned all wrong, I just don't think the transition from traditional tenements to "Bauhaus boxes" had much to do with it. It was hardly a factor in the Pruitt-Igoe Complex. There are plenty of high-rise residential buildings in the world, most of which are doing just fine, and their structure alone doesn't suddenly transform the residents into an anti-social mob. Bismarck (talk) 04:46, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure that cultural differences have an impact on the suitability of high rises as housing as well. The point isn't that high rises are inherently unlivable, but rather that even poor neighborhoods are delicate ecosystems that don't react well to Planning. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 20:13, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Architect and author Christopher Alexander does not agree about the livability of high-rises. From A Pattern LanguageWikipedia, specifically, Pattern 21: "Four-Story Limit":
"...high buildings make people crazy. High buildings have no genuine advantages, except in speculative gains for banks and land owners. They are not cheaper, they do not help create open space, they destroy the townscape, they destroy social life, they promote crime, they make life difficult for children, they are expensive to maintain, they wreck the open spaces near them, and they damage light and air and view. But quite apart from all this, which shows that they aren't very sensible, empirical evidence shows that they can actually damage people's minds and feelings."
This book repays repeated perusal. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 20:44, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


I might find that plausible; it just wasn't the point I was making. There's something fundamentally wrong, something inhuman about a window that can't be opened to let in the spring air. But putting such a window on the twenty-second floor invites various sorts of trouble. For most of my life there's been this kind of weird denial in architecture that buildings are symbols: a courthouse should look like a courthouse, a bank like a bank, a museum like a museum, and a house like a house. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 05:09, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I am pleased to note that From Bauhaus To Our House is actually a standard text in architecture courses. I am displeased to note that its message still doesn't sink in and the kids still get excited about the potential inherent in large featureless concrete cubes - David Gerard (talk) 08:45, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I think one can observe any group of people in any environment and notice how they are continuously becoming more crazy. The reality today is that most people don't spend a lot of time at home apart from sleeping, so I don't think the type of accomodation has that much of an effect on a person's psyche. Maybe once the NWO implements their depopulation plan, we can all live in single houses again. (<-irony) Anyway, I think we may require a definiton of "Bauhaus box" here; because I'm not going to defend buildings that are higher than a certain number of floors, say, a dozen or so. And even then I don't think higher buildings drive people crazy who explicitly want to live in these. Bismarck (talk) 09:16, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I used to pass the heygate estate in elephant and castle, the epitome of featureless concrete tube, which is often feature in TV shows as a typical crime ridden urban ces pool and think what was awful place to live. Then I found my self living there for a while and changed my opinion. They are incredible spacious on the inside. Now they are finally being torn down I find I miss them. More so as I am effectively homeless. Certainly in London, there is no room to build outward so building upward is really the only option. I do not understand why high rises are a bad thing, if they are built and planned properly. AMassiveGay (talk) 18:05, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

"it's just that blacks suffer because they happen to be poorer on average." That's just some sort of weird coincidence, right? It has nothing to do with any sort of structural racism. TeenageWasteland (talk) 15:11, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes. Structural racism. As in, racism that is ingrained in the structure of society and hard to get out. Not active racism on part of the landlords and real estate investors, as Tialarmex claimed. That blacks are on average poorer is not their fault. They simply don't care for anybody too poor, no matter the skin colour. Octo8 (talk) 15:57, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I get what you were saying. On first reading, it kinda looked to me like you were trying to argue race and racism away. TeenageWasteland (talk) 16:04, 25 February 2014 (UTC)


Much gentrification in the US occurred as homosexual male couples moved into benighted areas and fixed them up. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:50, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

The Sokal gambit, redux.[edit]

Looks like electronic engineers have the same problem that the scholars over in the humanities building have. No wonder anti-intellectualism is becoming more prevalent, when the assholes in the robes can't keep the shit from piling up on their doorways. TeenageWasteland (talk) 14:47, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Somehow, I really doubt anti-intellectuals are aware of the finer dramas and controversies occurring in academia. Just a hunch--"Shut up, Brx." 15:29, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Forward-looking technobabble glurge has much in common with other forms of bullshit, and seems as easy to generate randomly. "One must understand our network configuration to grasp the genesis of our results. We ran a deployment on the NSA’s planetary-scale overlay network to disprove the mutually large-scale behavior of exhaustive archetypes. First, we halved the effective optical drive space of our mobile telephones to better understand the median latency of our desktop machines. This step flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but is instrumental to our results. We halved the signal-to-noise ratio of our mobile telephones. We tripled the tape drive speed of DARPA’s 1000-node testbed. Further, we tripled the RAM space of our embedded testbed to prove the collectively secure behavior of lazily saturated, topologically noisy modalities. Similarly, we doubled the optical drive speed of our scalable cluster. Lastly, Japanese experts halved the effective hard disk throughput of Intel’s mobile telephones." - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 16:05, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Is that a real example of one of the papers? How in the world does that get past even the most mediocre peer review? Frederick♠♣♥♦ 22:29, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Smerdis was just attempting satire. Or at least that's what I think should be obvious here. Nullahnung (talk) 03:38, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
That was a sample from an earlier incident in which one of these jargon generated papers was printed. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:50, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
This seems weird. Statistics in my field are that about 40% of papers are rejected. Of the rest, the vast majority are accepted only after revisions, typically involving at least one more round of review. I have to wonder what passes for "peer review" at IEEE. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:55, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
The article mostly mentioned conference proceedings. Given that the standards are a bit more lax for such things, that goes some tiny way to explaining things, but in any reputable physics journal, the standards for acceptance are also quite high. Springer also has a lot of public policy journals though, so it makes me wonder if perhaps many of the papers were in less reputable journals. - Grant (Talk) 01:01, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
The point about conference proceedings goes part way to explaining. For conference abstracts we accept basically everything, on the principle that even a complete lunatic deserves a chance to present their ideas. But we don't pretend the abstracts are peer reviewed, as does IEEE. In fact it's fairly common in the biological and physical sciences for the abstract volume to explicitly state that the contents are not peer reviewed. The "commentary" linked below gives some more perspective on differences between disciplines. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:19, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Quite true. At my lab, I worked alongside a PhD candidate with an MSc in physics and a BSc in physics, pure mathematics, and computer science (compared to my lowly physics degree). I saw some of the differences first hand, and I was quite surprised at the emphasis placed on conferences in CS. Among the physicists at the lab, conference proceedings were barely worth the effort. I'm not an electrical engineer, however, so I don't really know whether IEEE's lax "peer review" for conference proceedings is surprising or not. At this point though, I don't really expect great things from them (I've always been told I should be leery of IEEE sources), and I certainly don't expect better from Springer given how many blatantly shit journals they have. They're not Elsevier, but they're not great either. - Grant (Talk) 04:45, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Commentary here: --Someon (talk) 19:10, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Whoa, that's cool. This means people will actually have to read submissions, rather than just pretend to! ħumanUser talk:Human 08:55, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Welcome our n00bs[edit]

I commented on PZ's post, noting that money helps (Mr Hovind's cost us $87 so far, and $87/mo ongoing, for the new server we just spun up ... though really, we needed it) - but what we really need is contributors to make the wiki a better resource. I hope we'll get some new contributors. So PLEASE WELCOME OUR N00BS and be nice and encouraging and not dickish to them - David Gerard (talk) 19:39, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

As long as they sacrifice a goat to the cabal, they'll be fine. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 20:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
You're kidding, right? Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. Moderator 20:34, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
sacrifice a GOAT !!! never. I thought we sacrificed TO the goats ? Hamster (talk) 20:46, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
No, we sacrifice goats to the LORD Jerboa. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 21:29, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
BURN all BLASPHEMERS who worship the FALSE LORD Jerboa!!! --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 21:39, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
He said Jerboa! He said Jerboa!22:12, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Octo8 (talk)
If anyone is unable to afford goats just slash the universal symbol for satanic atheism and homogayness into your palm and whisper the name of Shubb Niggurath and her prophet Richard Hitler Dawkins. Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 23:34, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Drat! I thought the prophet was Christopher Stalin Hitchens! Burn me, o almighty goat, for I have blasphemed. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:12, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I thought it was Anita Mussolini Sarkeensian! Forgive me, o mighty goat daemons!--The Madman (talk) 02:01, 1 March 2014 (UTC)The Madman
Never speak of that harlot again! she wants to ban videogames, destroy all urinals, and force all men to wear TAMPONS!!! Judge HoldenThe Judge Smiles 02:11, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
But what about the PZ Goebbels Myers heretics? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 03:10, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Dammit, I'm here only a few days and already there's lawsuits. On the plus side, you now have someone right by Escambia County to offer up as a sacrificial lamb to the guy convicted of tax evasion and conspiracy to evade taxes. --User:PsychoGecko

I can't sacrifice any of my goats right now; I'm training them to subvert Christian missionaries in Africa. They will eat up any New Testament in their vicinity, but remain as of yet a little sceptical towards the Old Testament. Maybe it tastes too much like baloney. Bismarck (talk) 04:43, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Not even listening to goat songs on the internets. Leuders (talk) 17:57, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Anyone else smelling Lenski II: Doctor Dino Boogaloo?[edit]

Except for the fact that Lenski didn't get sued by a serving convict, he just got dumb troll mail from the Trusworthy idiots. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 20:01, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Watch out...[edit]

Phrase by phrase, the English language is being trademarked!--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 07:31, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

That's what trademarks are for, I don't see a problem. Their "best" examples are exactly what you'd expect trademark abuse to look like, take somebody's established mark and alter it without a license (s/mountaineers/drink some beers/), then sell the resulting products. If for some reason you really want to do that, I strongly recommend consulting with a lawyer before you start so that at least you understand what your options are. Tialaramex (talk) 10:19, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
This looks like hyperbole over nothing. For example, "student life has been trademarked by Washington University in St. Louis" - sure, that sounds ridiculous, since the phrase is used in marketing & media by pretty much every university & student support organisation out there. But in fact Student Life is the name of Washington University's student newspaper, and trademarking in this context is routine. It protects the newspaper from rival publications trying to use the same name, and does not mean (as Language Log suggests) that anybody is likely to be sued for using the phrase "student life" in other contexts. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:54, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I remember when Time Magazine trademarked their name. I've had to send a check off to them whenever I used the word "time" ever since. Pain in the ass. (Dammit, that's another $13 I have to pay.) DickTurpis (talk) 13:43, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
That's not how trademarks work. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. Moderator 15:42, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Omphaloskepsis II[edit]

Hog-2013-rw.svg First a very simple pic: These three dozen bubbles represent the articles (i.e., pages in the main name space) which attracted at least 100 edits in 2013 here at RationalWiki. If a single editor contributed at least 50 % of the edits, the percentage is shown. Pope Francis was the article which was edited the most. And I really have to look into these articles on Bloodletting, etc. :-)
Bubbles-var-ordered-ns-10-RationalWiki-2013-20140201.svg Here, each user who commented at least 10 times in 2013 is represented by a pie-chart of which the area shows the number of edits, while the segments show the name-spaces in which the edits were made (see legend). The pie charts are clustered according to the preferred name-spaces of each editor: most editors work mainly in the main space. A few of us still prefer to toil away mainly in Conservapedia's name space..

(Is it just me or does the pic resemble Homer Simpson?)

--larron (talk) 17:03, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

We can see who's twitching the curtains Scherben (talk) 17:10, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Is Osaka Sun the Illuminati? Today at 11. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 19:42, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
You have a script that can detect single-user "walled gardens"? Neat.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:09, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

2008 vs. 2013[edit]

2008 2013
Rw-100-2008-all-ns.svg Rw-100-2013-all-ns.svg
year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
#edits 88,000 170,000 200,000 190,000 210,000 170,000 130,000

--larron (talk) 09:51, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

The Saloon Bar is a tumor, and Osaka Sun is the Illuminati. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 18:20, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Wait, so activity on RW stabilized around 2009-2011, and has been declining since then? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 20:43, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
At least the number of edits is down, I assume that our traffic is up. One reason may be that wikis and mobile computing don't work well together yet: while some wikis are quite nice to read on a mobile device, editing them is always a pain in the butt. --larron (talk) 22:08, 27 February 2014 (UTC)


Not a tumor, just a replacement for various other outlets, liki CP Wigo Talk, Main Talk, and the talk pages of some users... --larron (talk) 20:28, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

February 2014[edit]

A monthly overview of the edits per namespace paints a slightly more nuanced picture:

Edits at RationalWiki

And here are all editors of February 2014:

Editors in Feb 2014 (4.25MByte)

User:HelenCampbell and User:Micky12 took me by surprise (compare RationalWiki:Active users‎) --larron (talk) 22:56, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Yay, you can actually see me! I feel worthful! Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 12:43, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Name-check each RationalMedia Foundation Trustee and mod[edit]

Trent, you bastard! Osaka Sun (talk) 23:04, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

There are 12 registered voters named Weasel (7 Democrats & 5 Republicans). ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:23, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
13 voters named Goat. 16 named Rat. 14 named Wiki. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:42, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I think it says something about the comparative effectiveness of brainwashing that while 64% of people named Marx associate with the Democratic party, only 56% of people named Rand think of themselves as Republicans. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 23:51, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
hmmm, Trents seem to be college educated , fundamentalist gun owners. Hamster (talk) 00:13, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Hrm. Most Jasons are republican and went to college. Nearly half own firearms. So they've got 2 out of 3 on me. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 01:10, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Ok they're not even trying. Hillel: 65% are democrats, 42% own guns, 27% attend weekly services, and 68% went to college. There is no way on planet earth that many American Hillels own guns and don't go to shul. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 01:14, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
"There are 312 registered voters named Stalin, making it the 19,151st most common name." They are also mostly Democrats. TeenageWasteland (talk) 01:55, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Dicks tend to be God-fearing, gun-toting Republicans. What a coinky-dink! Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 02:02, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Heh, so of people called "Messiah", 82% are democrats and only 26% attend religious ceremonies. Of people called "Jesus", 78% are democrats, and 46% attend religious ceremonies. And from what I've seen, women are more likely to have higher education, vote democrat and have guns in their houses. Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 02:08, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Uh-oh, looks like Glenn Beck might be vindicated. Adolfs lean democratic.--"Shut up, Brx." 03:02, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Even worse: there are 30 registered voters named "Hitler". Also heavily democraticTh. BernhardDas Leben ist ein Prozeß, den man verliert, was man auch tut und wer man auch ist. 05:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
And only 3 of the 21 registered "God"s are Republican. Even more shocking that only a third of the "God"s attend religious services.Th. BernhardDas Leben ist ein Prozeß, den man verliert, was man auch tut und wer man auch ist. 05:55, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Nevertheless, it seems that God goes to church a little more of then than Allah.--Coffee (talk) 07:35, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
There are 63 voters named Mango, 16 named Spud, 15 named Cheeks. Who the hell are these people? WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:52, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Sod me! They really are called Spud. I thought that was just the {{USERNAME}} template again. Spud (talk) 05:59, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
200 named Dude, 15 named Dood, 17 named Doodie, 12 named Doody. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:58, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
For fictional characters: 25 named Yoda, 34 named Kalel, 60 named Vader, 80 named Darth. There are also 11 named lightning and 93 named Thunder. There are even 43 poor souls that are called "Porn". Strangely enough ther are only 19 named Baines and 11 named Milhouse, although these are the middle names of two former US-PresidentsTh. BernhardDas Leben ist ein Prozeß, den man verliert, was man auch tut und wer man auch ist. 08:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
...18 named Weed, 13 named Pot, 12 named Hemp, 30 named Toke, 23 named Doobie... ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 09:27, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Wow, apparently I'm the 147,067th most common name. Mostly Dem though. PsyGremlin말하십시오 09:11, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
1,286 voters named Osiris, they're 3/4 Democrats, and even odds they have a gun. Jupiter trends Democrat as well. Thor's almost evenly split, and less likely to be armed than Osiris. 13 Yahwehs, and they're 58% Democrats, 38 Jehovahs at 80% Democrat, and the 188,777 Jesuses are 74% Democrats. 12,509 Athenas, 60% D. 18,650, 73% D. 42 Saturns, 65% D. Marduk is unregistered, as is Poseidon, but 66 Neptunes, 79% D, 253 Zeus at 67% D. Conclusion: gods break Democratic. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:21, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Except Baldur, which seems to virtually be the most Republican name (i.e., 100.0% of all names are more democratic leaning). 41 Baldurs at 61.7% Republican. Hos old foe Loki is fittingly very democratic: 72 Lokis, 73.3% democratic, making the name 93.7% more democratic than all other names. Octo8 (talk) 14:25, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
People called Jesus are more likely to have a gun than go to church. SophieWilderModerator 10:34, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Am I the only one who spent 10 minutes just looking up names like "Penis", "Sex", "Condom" and "Vagina"? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 12:58, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Welp, turns out "Mahboobeh" is a real name… Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 13:03, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Ghetto names consistently yield Democrat voters in the 75-90% range, redneck names 40-60%. The GOP is dying out. Bismarck (talk) 13:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Huh. My name leans so blue I might as well be choking. Zero (talk) 14:14, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm a bit surprised there's anyone with my (full) name, but it turns out there's 20. Not including me of course, since I'm in a different country. --Kels (talk) 14:57, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
People named "Dick" lean Republican. Coincidence? I think not. Osaka Sun must be behind it, I'm sure. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 16:29, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Not all of us do. DickTurpis (talk) 19:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Around 50% are likely have a gun in the house no matter what name you put in? Leuders (talk) 18:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
That's about the national percentage, I believe. I was gonna check hippy names like Rain and Storm, but it appears the service is down.--"Shut up, Brx." 19:23, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Less than a third of Genghises are churchgoers. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member Moderator 07:28, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Half the people named Felix own guns. Weirdly predictive... --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 13:31, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Okay, so the service is back up. It seems that Rain and Storm are heavily democratic, but there's still a 45% rate of gun ownership with them.--"Shut up, Brx." 14:44, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't think I've seen any yet where gun ownership was lower than 40% or higher than 60%. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 15:03, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Evil Goat![edit]

The Jerobites were right! I have photographic proof! --Kels (talk) 16:05, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

All hail Mighty Lord Jerboa! Embrace the Furry Cuteness! --PsyGremlin말하십시오 17:18, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
So are cats just too mainstream, or...--"Shut up, Brx." 17:39, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Some people like puppies. Some like goats. Some others are lost in the menagerie. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

More proof of the evilness of the goat[edit]

Lo and behold at BigDog, the goat-footed robot and harbinger of the cybernetic revolt! It's a Jerobite conspirancy to discredit the righteous Goat! --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 23:36, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Anthony Peake[edit]

Peake (on a number of sock puppets) has taken issue with his article on the talk-page. I would appreciate anyone looking into the matter. The page may need to be updated with new information as it seems out of date. Orangina1 (talk) 17:26, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

several people seem to be talking on the talk page. I have added an offer to check any specific issues. The article seems well sourced. If a sock becomes a problem someone will smack him. Hamster (talk) 05:40, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't think there exists a problem. The comments about his (lack of) scientific qualifications are well-founded based on my readings. While some parts of the article may or may not be out of date, the science stuff seems to be fine. - Grant (Talk) 05:43, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Ark Park Update - Today![edit]

We finally get to find out if AiG's Ark Park will get built or whether they'll have to embarrassingly scrap the whole thing today in a livestreamed update. 7PM EST, which I think is midnight here in good old Blighty. My pointing and laughing finger is primed and ready. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 16:21, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I'd say that in my opinion, Ark Park will...
( •_•)\⌐■-■
...have a stormy future. (YEEEEEAHHHHH!!!)--Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 18:46, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Tumbleweed.gifTumbleweed.gifTumbleweed.gif WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:59, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, I'll be here all week. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 19:30, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
It begins! Schadenfreude circuits primed! Don't disappoint me, world. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:00, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Alas, apparently they got their money somehow. Most of the time they've spent hamming up (geddit?) how persecuted they are by the media not putting the "right" spin on the facts. Apparently they're now supposed to be opening in 2016. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:26, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Good one, Jeeves. But it's not April 1st yet. Everyone knows YEC cultists have no money, education, or teeth. There's no way such a fringe cult could raise all that cheddar. And if they did, they truly deserve kudos for being that good at self-promotion. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 01:20, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
So... is it a shady money laundering scheme? Shady The Producers-esque fraud? A massive goat trafficking operation? All three? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 16:34, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Closest to the middle option. The private investors take a lot of the risk for relatively modest return. If the park is never finished (for whatever reason) or never opens (again, whatever the reason) or it opens but takings never exceed operating costs (e.g. because the estimates of how popular it would be are hopelessly optimistic) they never see a dime back. If the park is finished, opens, and makes a lot of money, they see some of that, but not enough to make a cold-hearted investor put their money behind it. This was heavily pushed as more of a Christian duty than an investment opportunity, I'd guess the ideal audience were people who like to think of themselves as good with investments but who are also very concerned about portraying themselves as overtly Christian. If it goes wrong, they "donated" to God's work, if it goes well, they got rich by doing what the Lord wanted them to do, proving that it pays to worship Jesus or whatever. Tialaramex (talk) 10:32, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
"Maketh my father's house a house of merchandise", much?--The Madman (talk) 11:38, 3 March 2014 (UTC)The Madman

Thanks Bill Nye! - Ken Ham--NerdyWizard (talk) 23:55, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

On behalf of all Canadians Torontonians, in advance[edit]

We're sorry. We're so, so sorry. Osaka Sun (talk) 03:39, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

So, Odds Ford will still take the election? --Revolverman (talk) 05:41, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Almost the same as the PQ winning the election in Quebec. TeenageWasteland (talk) 05:58, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
No. As expected, the right-wing has four candidates itching to take on one progressive (Chow). Her strategists would be advising her to stay out of the Macbeth-esque infighting and wait until the smoke settles, but she's announcing her candidacy in the middle of this month. Why?
Coupled with Tory having already entered into the ring (this would likely be his last election, so this is a calculated decision) and the fact that the Brazen 2 warrants are imminent in that same week... Osaka Sun (talk) 06:06, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Aren't Canadian conservatives quite liberal by USA standards? --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 20:56, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
It's not really that black-and-white. I would say there's definitely a smaller proportion of American-style conservatives within Canada, and gerrymandering is not so easy to do here, so American-style conservative politicians have to be a bit more careful when it comes to potential backlash. Certainly most polls seem to suggest that the Canadian populace swings more to the left on average on most social and economic issues. However, our electoral system is still FPTP, and many ridings have historically seen vote splitting on the left (between the NDP and Liberals primarily). This was true for some time for the right as well, but the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives spelled a swift end to that. Folks like Rob Ford end up elected because the suburbs of Toronto swing to the right, even though the downtown core is staunchly left. - Grant (Talk) 21:12, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
EC --->To a certain extent.. But it's also true that there is room in Canadian political discourse for conservative ideas that were largely unthinkable 30 years ago, so in that way there are noteworthy parallels in the two countries' political trajectories. But's really hard to make meaningful comparisons of political cultures across borders, especially where two nations have such vastly different cultures and histories. How can you draw a really salient comparison between, say, health care policies between a country where some form of socialized medicine is pretty much a bedrock value and one where only a fringe group of elected officials advocate single-payer public health care? The fact that a significant part of Canada's political history was influenced by people steeped not just in the Westminster tradition, but in ideals derived from their experiences in an educational and political system with deep ties to Catholicism also makes cross-border comparisons difficult. The French fact makes Canada a very different place. TeenageWasteland (talk) 21:14, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
TeenageWasteland has it right here as well. While it may seem on first glance that Canadian and American culture are quite similar, that's not the case. Religion alone is a massive difference, as Catholics are the majority across the country, with Protestants in second place and other denominations much farther down the list. Combined with some other significant cultural differences (the French majority in Quebec being one of them) and the Westminster system of government (as TeenageWasteland mentioned), and you have a system that seems like a hybrid between the British and American ways of doing things. Not only that, but there has historically been very strong resistance towards the idea of moving that hybridization one way or the other. Canadian identity can be a very powerful tool for politicians to use during elections. - Grant (Talk) 21:22, 6 March 2014 (UTC)


Nice job RationalWiki, we picked the winner! Also, I'm personally relieved to see that "Let It Go" won Best Song; I won't have to carry out my vow to punch everyone in AMPAS in the nose. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 05:26, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Did DiCaprio win anything this time? Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 08:04, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
No, but at least he was nominated this time, so maybe next year. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 08:16, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Oh, for fuck's sake… Impurity is the secret Unite with thy oracle Dolan.png 11:57, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Welp, 12 Years won. I personally prefer Gravity or The Wolf Of Wall Street. 12 Years was a bit Oscar baity for me.
Nice to see Gravity won seven Oscars. Suck it down, McQueen. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 00:39, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Still disappointed that it didn't take Best Picture, or any of the acting awards; it didn't have much serious competition in the ones it did take. But Oscar ain't going to pick a (fairly hard, but still) science fiction film above a po-faced movie about slavery. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 14:33, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
I swear 12 Years was made with some sort of Oscar bait Mad Libs.
I can't say I liked it that much, since it wholeheartedly fulfills the sacrosanct requisite that watching it must feel more like work than entertainment. Argo was a much better Best Picture winner; it managed to be Oscar bait while still being very entertaining. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 00:48, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that's a fair characterization. 12 Years was closely adapted from true events; it was an honest attempt to tell Solomon Northup's story. The fact that that story comes across as Oscar-baity is a reflection not of the film but of what we understand to be Oscar bait today. If you want really blatant, 96% purity level Oscar bait, look at Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, that weird-ass movie that had something to do with 9/11 and autism. It didn't win anything, and the Academy is very sorry about its nomination.
I do agree that 12 Years wasn't very entertaining, but it wasn't supposed to entertain, and the worth of a film is not solely in its entertainment value.
Also, Gravity is not science fiction. It does not depict anything beyond current technology or scientific understanding. It could really have happened if we were still sending people into space. That makes it not science fiction by any reasonable definition of the term. That some people have tried changing the definition of science fiction (as you'll see in the tortured arguments over this point on Wikipedia) does not alter this fact. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 20:08, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
If we were still sending people into space???? TeenageWasteland (talk) 20:12, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Gasp! They forgot those six poor men in there!? Vulpius (talk) 20:39, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Commander Hadfield is the best! The best, I say! Nullahnung (talk) 20:45, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I meant if Americans were still sending people into space. I thought we weren't. I guess I was wrong about that? I'm confused. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 22:07, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Americans are still sending people into space. They get there on Russian rockets. TeenageWasteland (talk) 22:26, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Oh, gotcha. That must have been what I was thinking of. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 23:08, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
The basic problem with Twelve Years a Slave is the same as with The Passion of Christ, which more or less assumed that you'd find the main character sympathetic just because you already knew he's Jesus. The Butler was a far better white-guilt movie, because its use of history as a backdrop was much cleverer, and IMO it succeeded at making you care where Twelve Years came across as just an atrocity exhibition. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 18:39, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Christ, black people can't win for losing. About black people? It's either low-class garbage or a product of white guilt. "Po-faced". Doesn't deserve an Oscar. That autobiographical account written by a black man over 150+ years ago, adapted and directed by black man, and starring a black person as its main protagonist? Just an "atrocity exhibition".
America's history starts with a centuries-long genocide against indigenous peoples, overlapping with a couple centuries of one of the most evil and oppressive institutions ever created in human history, followed by an entire century of a purposefully violent and oppressive system of rules and laws (Jim Crow), followed by the diet Jim Crow that is our current sentencing and prison system and Stand Your Ground laws. But, no no no, let's not talk about that. It's too po-faced. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 19:57, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
RA's post is an example of what we call "hitting it out of the park." Drop the mike and walk away. TeenageWasteland (talk) 20:04, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I'm genuinely perplexed at the choices made by the Academy. I saw both The Butler and 12 Years, and think that the better film of the two got entirely snubbed by the Academy. So, for that matter, did Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which was also snubbed by the Academy. There were three high-quality Black bio-pics released in 2013, and the film I found the least compelling among the three got the nod. This is about esthetics, not history. I just think that 12 Years was coasting: assuming you'd care about Northrup's plight because you were supposed to, rather than building him as a character you cared about before the kidnapping. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 20:18, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Honestly I don't think it's about aesthetics or history. It's about how ordinary people like you and me view art as compared to self-appointed judges of What Is and What Is Not Good Art. The Butler and Mandela were about blacks' triumphs, whereas 12 Years was about black people suffering. I think the Academy took the latter route because of this idea that art is about suffering, not because of any aesthetic or racial criteria. Showing a black man succeed makes a movie feel better, and it's more PC, but it's less "art." That's my theory anyway. (Full disclosure: I didn't see Mandela. I did, however, listen to "Ordinary Love." It was not as good as "Let It Go." I can, and will, make any conversation about Frozen somehow.) Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 20:43, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Also, Smerdis: I do agree with you that Butler should have gotten more recognition than it did. This article has a guess as to why it and some other quality films from this year may have been snubbed. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] [留] 21:10, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Some nice crankery from my hometown.[edit]

Not a resident, not a lawyer, and already lost before. I wana know if those two people he's "representing" know he's taken these actions on their behalf, or if their even real... (Also note, I've been living in this town all my life and my teeth are really damn good given how bad I am on keeping up with proper brushing.) --Revolverman (talk) 16:03, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

I don't know what's worse: the lawsuit, or the editor who made it seem as though the plaintiffs were blaming their dental damage for the existence of flouride, instead of the other way 'round. ("residents who blame fluoride on their dental damage" instead of "for their dental damage.") And it seems to me there are a lot of whack-a-doo right wingers in the BC interior. I only really know Vancouver well. TeenageWasteland (talk) 16:24, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Prince George is a weird melting pot. You got the city itself, with some people bragging about how much pollution their over-sized trucks pump into the air (Seriously), but then you also have UNBC, a world level university with a very strong environmental and social justice focus. Its being pulled between two big groups, and it causes strangeness. (For example, I know a few pro-gun Hippies around town.) --Revolverman (talk) 23:52, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Pro-gun hippies are not as rare as you think. Hunter S. Thompson and his fans are good examples. --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 00:33, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure HST would have appreciated being lumped in with the hippies. Think of the way he portrays the clueless hitch-hiker in the first part of FLLV. Or this:
Most hippies are too drug oriented to feel any sense of urgency beyond the moment. Their slogan is "Now," and that means instantly. Unlike political activists of any stripe, hippies have no coherent vision of the future which might or might not exist. The hippies are afflicted by an enervating sort of fatalism that is, in fact, deplorable.

("The Hashbury is the Capital of the Hippies," The New York Times Magazine, May 1967.) I think he probably appreciated the hippies' counter-culture ethos, but also may have seen them as drop-outs with no political vision, something he, as a deeply political animal, would not have identified with. TeenageWasteland (talk) 00:45, 8 March 2014 (UTC)[edit]

I can't edit or the talk page to that article, when I try I get a note saying


You don't have permission to access /w/index.php on this server.

Apache/2.2.14 (Ubuntu) Server at Port 80

Is the article supposed to be locked? If not can computer experts please sort this. Proxima Centauri (talk) 08:58, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

No, we finally stopped you from editing article space No, server weirdness. Try again (I just managed to load it) - David Gerard (talk) 09:06, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Fine for me, too. I figure if it was a behind-the-scenes issue it might have been an issue with the "." in the title, but it's never come up before. Probably just a random cross-wire glitch. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 19:23, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Broken for me, you bastards, but also when logged out. Indeed hitting the login button from that page is also broken, as is the history. Peter mqzp 23:40, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
This appears to be an intermittent issue being experienced by a number of editors. There are a couple ongoing threads on the Technical support page about the matter. - Grant (Talk) 15:44, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Does anybody else…[edit]

Ever look at any of their old edits, talk page posts, and just go "what the tits was I thinking"? I mean, I can't be the only one who does this. Oh, and if there are any specific examples of any comments or anything you made that you find embarrassing and amusing, please, don't be afraid to post them here. MESSIAH OF DOOM Impurity is the secret Dolan.png 15:49, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

That just means you're maturing. So to answer your question, no, one of the rest of us do that. DickTurpis (talk) 16:48, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Only my really early wikipedia stuff, where I spent the first four months inadvertently breaking all the rules. And that month I spent writing about bivalves. SophieWilderModerator 20:20, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I tend to read some old posts and think "that was nicely said, I wish that I could write like that", then see that it was signed by me. Damn, I'm going downhill fast. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic? Moderator 23:00, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I used to be much smarter, funnier, and people actually liked me. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:17, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I sometimes see embarrassing old comments or sometimes mainspace edits that I wouldn't agree with now; or occasionally comments I can't remember making at all & am surprised are actually something I said. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:18, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Yo dawg, so you be hatin' on dis shit, but yo ain't got no tips fo' keepin' it fresh. Where do y'all wanna see more swag in the 420 yolo slappin' bitches up SnapBack gangsta #swag?
—Yes, I actually fucking said that.

MESSIAH OF DOOM Deserved doom shall be unto you Dolan.png 13:51, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Every era has its generational shibboleths that sound odd to old farts. Legs in Vietnam spoke of bleach, where you might say 420. It didn't take me long to figure out that spouting the jive du jour was more about proclaiming one's own suavity than it was about effective communication. Better to use standard lingo when addressing a diverse audience. (First rule: always consider the audience.)
I'm still trying to hold two ideas in mind at once: first, what I write online never goes away, and second, very few people will ever read it, and even fewer of them give a fuck. Carry on, man, and I don't mean go ahead on. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:16, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, to be fair, I was being sarcastic (it's on the Kevin Martin talk page). Either way, it was still a kind of stupid thing to say. I was also involved in a particularly embarrassing incident (not on RW, but on this batshit blog that said that being transsexual means you are abusive to women, that science is all just big male conspiracy designed to bring down the "Mother Goddess", that sex and porn should be banned and that literally all men are, without exception, evil rapist monsters) where some stuff happened, with which Noah got involved. He's actually still mad about it, I think. MESSIAH OF DOOM A sea on earth is a sea of tears Dolan.png 07:05, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Mikal asks a computer question[edit]

I trust you people. You're smart. I have a problem, my Desktop is an XP, an OS which is soon to lose official support, and i'm currently,. and not for the forseeable time, not going to be in a position to buy the remaining parts i need to combine with my custom parts for a new computer ith windows 7, leaving me stuck. I can't put windows 7 on this computer, it doesn't have the power id want to reliably do that and keep it a gaming PC, nor do i really want to have to lose all my files, (3G of ram, "AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor", Geforce 430 graphicscard with 150gigs of space, 67 free). Would it be worth it or practical to get Windows Vista as an intermediary step to keep this thing going for now?--Mikal | lakiM 02:47, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Wait. Two direct questions. First, why do you think you need to give up on XP? It's a superior Windows OS and it simply doesn't matter that MS won't support it any longer. It's not like you ever got anything meaningful out of MS anyway, is it? IIRC XP won't do 64 bit, if that matters for what you're doing. Otherwise, what's the beef? Second, what parts do you actually need for your new box? Your case, hard drive, and video card are fine. Do you already have a new motherboard and processor? You can build a really nice gaming computer out of 2 or 3 year old gear. I guess I don't understand why you're committed to changing OSes. Any more recent Windows is going to perform worse than XP on your box. If you want to continue gaming but greatly improve your user experience for other stuff, do what people are saying and run Ubuntu (or OSX !!!) off a thumb drive or small boot partition. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 18:16, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
The case is actually pretty worthless if i want room to expand, theres only room for a second harddrive in there at this point, as for the HD itself, 150 gigs for what im doing anymore isnt., its only at 67 because of the fact i uninstalled some stuff i was using slightly less than others. as for why, its more a general sense of i dont know how long itll be til i can get a new computer.--Mikal | lakiM 23:49, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Vista was an abomination. You sound like a guy who will be getting familiar with Ubuntu/Lubuntu/Xubuntu sometime soon. Apparently, the upcoming release (14.04) is the bomb. TeenageWasteland (talk) 03:08, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I don;t exactly want Vista, its more a desperation move if i have to to last me a while til i can get a new PC altoigether. As for moving to Ubuntu, i would, if i could play more games. --Mikal | lakiM 03:11, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
With WINE you could prolly play most of the games you play on XP. TeenageWasteland (talk) 03:13, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
is this a concern with running new games or what ? You can always just run it as a winxp box with your current software until it dies. I run V8sta on a laptop and once you turn off UAC it runs OK, but it uses 2 gb of memory compared to 512 mb on xp. Hamster (talk) 05:02, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Forgive me if I'm not as eloquent as I should be, but I've had a fair bit to drink this evening. Regardless, XP losing official support is certainly not the end of the world if you run an XP box. Considering that any Windows version always has its fair share of zero-day exploits, I highly doubt your system will end up significantly less safe than it was beforehand.
If this doesn't console you, I will echo the idea that Ubuntu would be a good idea, though I will warn you that WINE is not sufficient for most gaming applications, despite what you may hear elsewhere. WINE is great if you're running a system that already manages above and beyond the minimum requirements set by a given game, but it isn't great if you're using a box that's already out of date. On the other hand, the minimum system requirements for Win 7 aren't that much more restrictive than Windows Vista. Check their minimum requirements, and you'll be able to see that yourself; Vista requires half as much RAM (512 MB in comparison to Win 7's 1 GB), but otherwise has relatively similar requirements to Vista. - Grant (Talk) 06:44, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
That RAM requirement is basically a lie. Vista needs at least 1GB and preferably 2GB, same as Windows 7. 7 really is just a .1 release of Vista - the internals and resource usage are identical - David Gerard (talk) 08:46, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
(EC)Win 7 is so much better than Vista in every way, you might as well. On the other hand, XP is just fine, and I don't think further official updating is that much more worth it (having a very low opinion of windows update). WINE wil give you comparable results for some games and then there's the games that are ported over on Steam, but that's it for Linux. I'm pretty much just agreeing with Grant here. Nullahnung (talk) 08:50, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
If you're a student, depending on your university, you might be able to get Win7 for free (and maybe some select other MS software). Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:46, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Generally speaking, 7 will run as well or better on the same hardware as Vista. Go for the 32 bit install and you'll probably be fine.
Vista is basically identical to Windows 7. It's like Ford Edsel (joke) versus Ford Comet (huge success): next iteration of the same thing, the main difference is the badge. Vista sucked in 2006 because computers were too slow and small and there were no drivers; Windows 7 was great in 2009 because computers were bigger and faster, and there were finally drivers ('cos they'd written them for Vista). So Vista will feel just like Windows 7 would.
If your computer can fit more memory, do that as the very first thing. Basically put in as much memory as will work. I'm finding fucking web browsing fills this 4GB laptop - David Gerard (talk) 08:40, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
If you are still using XP at this point in time, the loss of support won't hurt you much. If you are anxious anyway, you might want to consider installing a GNU/Linux release alongside Windows XP (dual boot). Bismarck (talk) 09:48, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
My 6yo just discovered her Minecraft wouldn't work on her XP any more because it overstresses the video driver for her 2006 laptop. Of course, the X.Org R300 driver still works flawlessly! (She still uses Windows for games that run in Unity 3D, which doesn't work in Wine yet.) - David Gerard (talk) 12:23, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Gaming on GNU/Linux really depends on the game in question. Some games work perfectly, some not at all and most will cause issues. I very rarely play computer games any more, but I did install Alpha Centauri on my current OS and I play some Tecmo Super Bowl with an emulator from time to time. (Go Bo Jackson!) Bismarck (talk) 14:07, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Hackintosh partition. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 15:50, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't plan on changing the operating systems on any of my computers that continue to run XP. I run a lot of older software in any case. I simply see no reason to be frog-marched into another forced "upgrade" that makes everything slower. - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 16:20, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
EC -->Also, "Hey you kids, get off my lawn. And be quiet, I'm trying to listen to my cassette player." TeenageWasteland (talk) 16:24, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with David here. I have Vista on my laptop and Win7 on my Desktop at work. They are very similar, despite the "Vista is terrible" crowd, but Vista will actually be slower than Win7. I don't think a couple of months on XP will kill you. Sterilesig.svgtalk 16:24, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Edit Break[edit]

Get a cheap USB stick (4GB is a little short but 8GB enough and 16GB is plenty), and make a (persistent, not live) install of linux on that. Ubuntu is probably the easiest thing as I think they let you boot the installer from windows easily. You will have to reboot every time you want to use Windows software which may or may not be an insurmountable pain, but security is a lot better as long as you unplug the USB stick every time you boot windows. You can still access all your windows files and folders from linux. --Someon (talk) 17:05, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Prompted by this comment and the fact that it had been a number of years since I tried Linux, I decided to try just what Someon suggested. So I grabbed an 8GG USB stick and tossed a copy of Ubuntu on it to give it a whirl. And holy shit what an unpleasant experience that was. Shit wouldn't install, menus disconnected from the actual windows (and not visible unless you click the top bar, how am I supposed to intuit that shit?), everything required dependencies that either wouldn't install or were dependent on other things that weren't included. Frustrating as hell. Hell, I couldn't even install fucking Wine to see how well it works on my system. If that's the "try it out" version, it doesn't really make me rush out to get the real thing. --Kels (talk) 16:34, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
So how exactly did you try to "install" things? Also, the menu bar thing is copied from Macs, so it isn't that unintuitive to many. --Someon (talk) 21:11, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
The desktop Linux community is a two-decade experiment studying how projects fail and communities make bad decisions. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 18:15, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Over the past, say, five years, I have run a big research database, written thousands of pages of notes/papers/chapters, managed tens of thousands of document scans, browsed all corners of the web, recorded a vanity CD of my music, and maintained a music library of close to 30,000 songs all on various flavors of Ubuntu/Lubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu, and never had any real issues that weren't solved within a short time with advice from the Ubuntu forums. Maybe I'm just lucky. TeenageWasteland (talk) 18:22, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
My issue with Linux, mostly, is that it seems to rely heavily on the end user being a tech hobbyist, or at the very least the sort who's comfortable compiling scripts, tinkering about in console or generally happiest when they can dig under the hood. It seems a bit less oriented to someone like me who's actively bad at a lot of that. Not that it can't perform tasks well or provide a good experience, just that if you're not tech-savvy then you'd better have a friend who is or you're SOL. --Kels (talk) 18:33, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
(EC) I've found desktop Linux evangelists to be masters at brushing aside what most people find to be dealbreakers as "minor inconveniences", if any such problems are mentioned at all. Linux has a difficulty curve like running into a brick wall, as Kels just found out the hard way. (Also — four variants of desktop OS in five years? Most people never upgrade their OS, they wait until they get a new computer. Did you upgrade by choice, or were you able to use an OS released in 2001 through, say, 2008 with minimal issues?) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 18:43, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I've been linux (ubuntu) only for some years now (android tablet & phone) purely idealogically (don't like MS or Apple) No probs realy & local user group's quite helpful. Scream!! (talk) 18:52, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I can only say that my "difficulty curve" has been less than what I encountered using Windows. YMMV. And I am the least tech-savvy guy you know. That said, I'm not doing anything serious like website development or programming. Running an office suite, a basic recording studio set up, a giant Zotero database, etc, all using out-of-the-box software. As for the variants of the OS, I have two larger laptops, an old netbook in the kitchen that is used strictly as a radio, and a netbook I use for research trips. I tend to not use that netbook for months at a time, and do a fresh reinstall whenever I take it on the road, and, just for kicks, try a whatever Ubuntu flavor piques my curiosity at the moment. Right now I'm using a 2012 LTS and a 13.10 that will probably both get replaced with the 14.04 LTS that seems to be getting good reviews in beta. TeenageWasteland (talk) 19:12, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
If you can write all that and know what it means, then you are more tech savvy than the vast majority of people who use Mac or Windows machines. Modern computer users expect their PCs to be no more complicated to operate than a family car. This is what both Apple and Microsoft understand and the Linux community doesn't understand or doesn't care. Ajkgordon (talk) 10:57, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Oddly enough, I've had an easier time getting Ubuntu to work on my desktop than I have booting it from a USB key. Of course, enjoying tinkering is a handy thing to have, but Ubuntu and its variants tend to be fairly user-friendly as long as you're not looking to dive under the hood. Of course, getting drivers to work can sometimes be very difficult, but that's more because many companies don't bother developing drivers for Linux. I had issues with my last sound card for that very reason; the company that made the card didn't bother to build any Linux drivers, and the community hadn't managed to reverse-engineer an acceptable set yet. I'm far from a Linux die-hard, but I do find that it's easier to use than Windows for any advanced tasks. Try writing scripts on a Windows box... It's hell. Windows just has way too many silly idiosyncrasies, and when a problem does occur, it's almost impossible to troubleshoot because the Windows back-end/registry is so damn complicated and often hidden from view. - Grant (Talk) 19:26, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't think persistent usb sticks can be relied up for any length of time. Xubuntu is quite nice I've found, so if you're that concerned a small linux partition for just web browsing might work for you. But I'd have to agree with the people saying that if you've survived this long on XP a few more months can't hurt. Peter mqzp 23:45, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm an absolute GNU/Linux nerd, but I've simply stopped recommending the OS to anyone. I learnt that the hard way. I went out of my way installing and teaching a few people GNU/Linux (Ubuntu mostly, at the time) and usually the whole thing falls apart over minor graphical details like which side the close window button (x) is on or something similar. Other people get seriously annoyed by the daily updates, although that only takes two clicks and is actually fairly useful. So I don't really recommend GNU/Linux over Windows or Mac any more. Cleaning up a Windows distro every year or so is less hassle than teaching someone GNU/Linux. People who are really interested will do that themselves. By the way, the various Ubuntu versions are really just Ubuntu with different desktop environments: KDE (Kubuntu), Xfce (Xubuntu) and LXDE (Lubuntu). Gnome was the standard until the Unity faux pas; after that people wanted to try something different. Bismarck (talk) 11:29, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

2014 Board election Results[edit]

Thanks for everyone who voted below is our board for the next year:

I want to thank everyone who ran and hope that we can count on you guys as we move forward in what so far appears to be an interesting year! Tmtoulouse (talk) 19:46, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

You all have my condolences!--TheLateGatsby (The end of the dock ) 20:05, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Nice board. Also, I don't have to pay out chocolate. SophieWilderModerator 20:33, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Via my diabolical schemes, everyone I voted for has been elected! MWA HA HA!! AH HAHA HAHA!!!
'cept for Listener. Oh well... --Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 20:44, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I figured AD and David Gerard for shoe-ins, but I'm kind of surprised I won. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 20:48, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Congratumalations! Good luck with the board stuff! Oh, and in future, can you not call it the Winter (or any other season) fundraiser? Because it's not winter for all of us, you know. MESSIAH OF DOOM Deserved doom shall be unto you Dolan.png 23:59, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Some of us don't even have winter... Raysenn Get the paddles, he's having a cancer! 01:59, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Things I swore I would never do again: accept a position on the board of a small charity - David Gerard (talk) 00:09, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Aye, if you worked for Amnesty International, you'd be making upwards of 300k a year--"Shut up, Brx." 00:26, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Things I learned today:
  • I am on the Board of Trustees now, so RW has terrible judgment.
  • David Gerard leverages each bit of wit to the max by posting it here, tweeting it from the RW account, and then retweeting it from his personal account, in a model of humor efficiency.--ADtalkModerator 00:35, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
I voted for every winner! Of course with the system we use... that's not too hard. Congrats and best of luck and skill for the coming year. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:12, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
The (Mister) TEA party is on the blower demanding a recount. 03:37, 7 March 2014 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

Election result[edit]

I think the result declaration should be full rational: This year ---- voters casted their votes in favor of 09 candidates contested for 05 BoT portfolio. Mr/Ms got so & so votes and secured Ist/2nd….. position in proportionate to number of registered voters. RMF congrat. to winners and seeks the support from contestants who could not win in the poll as a part of democratic method. Nannadeem (talk)

This is hard to understand. Please clarify.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:19, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I think he wants to know how many people voted, and which proportion of voters picked each nominee for their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, ... , 8th choice (i.e. the vote breakdown). - Grant (Talk) 15:38, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Resubmitting. The election result should show the full picture of balloting, as per contents of this communiqué:

The Board of Trustee (BoT) Elections of Rational Media Foundation (RMF) for the year 2014 were held in Feb, 2014. 0002211 voters got themselves registered for polling on or before the closing date. Out of 0002211 voters 0002210 votes have been casted. (Any registered voter can cast five votes in favor of his 5 favorite candidates contesting for 5 seats – one vote for one candidate) No vote was rejected. As per balloting and counting thereof, following users/candidates have won the seat of a trusteeship by securing Ist/2nd/3rd/4th/5th position in proportionate to total votes casting and number of votes casted in their favor respectively.

  • The wording may be replaced accordingly as per need and process adopted. Nannadeem (talk) 13:02, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
It would be to see the voting breakdown. You know, the way most democracies report election results. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:22, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Missing Malaysian plane[edit]

[2] My sympathies to the families who are likely feeling all sorts of bad feelings.

But here's what I don't get about this. Don't they have GPS to find these things? Anybody in a relevant field capable of shedding some light on why this isn't a solution?--"Shut up, Brx." 15:57, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Someone may correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that GPS position tracking systems still primarily use ground-based receivers and relay stations to transmit position information. GPS devices are great for telling you where you currently are, but transmitting that information to others is still primarily done via those ground-based receivers, if I recall correctly. - Grant (Talk) 16:06, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
(double EC) GPS is a one-way system - the receiver units get information about their current position, but the sat system itself has no idea where are the receivers. A GPS tracking unitWikipedia works by getting position from GPS and storing it or transmitting it through another network (e.g. a cell phone network). Planes usually use radar transponders for position and identification, and may have separate distress beacons, such as COSPAS-SARSAT.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:09, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
(EC) Indeed; GPS works by having a bunch of satellites constantly transmitting their position and the current time all over the place. Receivers "work" when they can receive that signal from several (four?) satellites, and the receiver uses the data received to figure out its current position. The satellites are oblivious to how many GPS devices are getting their signal and where they are. I also imagine transmitting back to said satellites would be quite difficult, seeing as the triangulation can involve several satellites at various positions at any given time. - Grant (Talk) 16:14, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
So... firstly yes, the GPS system per se does nothing but broadcast, it plays the equivalent role to a landmark, except you can see the satellites from everywhere on the surface of the planet. GPS satellites aren't geostationary, like a typical communications satellite, but instead their orbit is set so that there are always several visible from any spot, special stations on Earth tell them exactly where they all are, and they broadcast that plus the current time, if you have GPS in your phone you can get an app that shows the satellites "visible" right now from your location on a 2D plot representing the sky overhead. The WP article explains how it is possible for this (knowing where the satellites are schedule to be, and what time they thought it was when they broadcast) to allow us to know where we are in some detail, but it's basically like the triangulation you've probably read about except you need incredibly good radio receivers and a powerful computer. Fortunately a device with radio receivers unthinkably better than those available when I was born, and a power computer now costs hardly anything to make, so that's nice.
However, GPS is joining two other major types of satellite in adding payloads to help with distress situations. Right now a handful of geostationary comms satellites, and a bunch of miscellaneous things like weather satellites that have polar orbits, carry COSPAS SARSAT as mentioned by ZooGuard. COSPAS-SARSAT is a huge success of the late Cold War, the USA and USSR co-operating (and also a bunch of other nations joined, but the important thing was to have both Americans and Russians) over the jointly agreed priority of rescuing people from shipwrecks, aircrashes and the like. Whereas GPS involves satellites broadcasting but not receiving (from end users), COSPAS-SARSAT is the opposite. The satellites just listen (and then relay what they discover to a handful of fixed ground stations) and the end-users are on the ground laying amid wreckage of a plane, or with a broken leg on some desolate mountain, broadcasting with a distress beacon.
The idea from 2014 onwards is that new beacons will begin to offer a bi-directional connection. Simple at first, but eventually perhaps more capable. Right now today you turn on the beacon, it maybe has a reassuring "I'm working" LED, and that's it. You will probably wait at least an hour to be rescued (and often more, you're up a mountain or in the ocean or something, so rescuers are not nearby) and it's easy to panic and think you're abandoned. So, once the new GPS-based arm of COSPAS-SARSAT switches on, beacons will be able to say "Yup. I got GPS confirmation that rescuers received your message" and then maybe "Rescuers are on their way" and perhaps eventually "Hi. Rescue helicopter TANGO SIX NINE on its way to you. How many injured? Please select ONE, TWO-FIVE or MORE THAN FIVE".
You can see this thinking in the DSC system used as primary emergency contact for vessels at sea. If you just hold the red button on the DSC radio and then run away without doing anything further, it broadcasts a generic "Distress but I don't know what sort" message with the Mayday prefix and your ship's identity and location where possible, for hours, automatically. Rescuers will try to ask you what's wrong by radio, but they'll come anyway if you don't respond. But if you've got a minute to interact, you can choose e.g. "I'm on fire!" or "I am sinking!" from a menu, so that rescuers know what sort of incident they're coming to and can assign appropriate resources.
As a passenger airliner, it is almost unthinkable that this plane did not have the standard COSPAS-SARSAT 406MHz ELT beacon. However, some accidents (and also e.g. deliberate destruction by missile) destroy the beacon before it is able to transmit, or do not trigger the beacon automatically, leaving it to survivors if there are any to try to activate the beacon. In practice the absence of beacon transmissions from an airliner crash today usually means it was unsurvivable and so in a sense it hardly matters how long it takes to find except that of course we must conduct an accident investigation and so we'll need the "black boxes" from the plane. Tialaramex (talk) 17:07, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I just found that there is a system, ADS-B, which broadcasts the location sensed by an aircraft's GPS receiver. According to the WP article, China has had extensive ADS-B coverage for five years or more. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:16, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

My hypothesis is that they crashed on an island with polar bears and black smoke and stuff, and that island is either purgatory, or an old weird government testing island. But in all seriousness, I believe this may answer your question. Haven't read it in depth yet, but Grant and ZooGuard sound about right. MESSIAH OF DOOM Why weepest thou? Dolan.png 16:11, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

[bunch of EC's] Even little snot-nosed planes like the ones I used to fly in the eighties are equipped with a radar transponder, a gadget that actively pings back when interrogated by a radar sweep. The box can be manually set to put out a four-digit code. When flying in the arms of "the system" that code will be assigned by air traffic control. For clear-weather sightseeing in uncontrolled airspace, the code is 1200. No idea how far out over the ocean a land-based radar can see, at the flight levels the airliners use. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:15, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
(32 ECs) What's an "EC"? MESSIAH OF DOOM Deserved doom shall be unto you Dolan.png 16:17, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
(EC - edit conflict) As far as I know, not very. My friend is an ATC, and from what he's told me, there's very little ability to track commercial airliners once they pass a short distance into international waters (which is what, 200 km offshore or something of the like?). Whether that information is still accurate is another story. I'm sure military RADAR installations have a longer range, but I doubt they would be used to watch for commercial flights unless asked to do so beforehand. - Grant (Talk) 16:17, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, we're in a weird era. Ships usually have a transponder that idly broadcasts their identity and other metadata (e.g. GPS location if available) even in the middle of the ocean with no-one around. Nobody switches it off, you might forget to turn it on again (it's mandatory in busy shipping lanes) and power on a ship is rarely at a premium because you've got these enormous engines just to get anywhere. People figured out you can just barely receive the transmissions from space, they paid to listen for them on satellites and so now without fitting any new equipment most of the world's bigger ships e.g. a bulk cargo ship, cruise liner, container ship, that sort of thing show up wherever they are around the globe. But planes do not have anything like that, they "squawk" only in response to radar transmissions, and once they're out of radar coverage they just vanish unless you deliberately add other transmitters to them. Tialaramex (talk) 17:31, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Actually, many commercial airliners do have a quasi-continuous broadcast of the location data from their GPS receivers, in the form of ADS-B. In the near future, all will be required to do that. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:17, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
There are a number of apps that track planes and a good explanation of how they work can be found here, which also lists some planes which cannot be tracked (like AirForce One). I routinely use MarineTraffic to find the location of ships that I work on - I can see which dock they are berthed at without having to contact the agent. Ships use AIS and while MarineTraffic is good it relies on shore-based radio receivers (that they will give you for free if you supply the internet). However, although widespread there are certain gaps in the coverage. AIS is also a ship-to-ship service so you know who is around you even in the middle of the ocean but obviously doesn't cover things like Somali pirates. For this Malaysian plane (and I've flown in a good number of Malaysian 777s) if the plane was destroyed by an explosion when it was travelling at about 550 mph and an altitude of 35,000 feet then locating it in the sea is a much harder task, even if you knew its last position. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. Moderator 08:27, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Let the conspiracy theories begin[edit]

Stolen passports! Intrigue! TeenageWasteland (talk) 19:08, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

I saw that too. Perhaps passport theft is common in that area. SophieWilderModerator 20:10, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Or perhaps they've all been replaced with robots! SophieWilderModerator 21:52, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Well I guess technically the theory that people conspired to blow up a plane is a conspiracy theory, but again, not a Grand Conspiracy and so not implausible. A handful of people would be in the conspiracy, some of them needn't even know the plan in detail. Somebody steals some passports, somebody makes a bomb suitable for concealing in aeroplane luggage. Two people board the plane with luggage under false identities, perhaps having been told they're smuggling something (drugs? money? stolen technology?) and not to try to open it. A bomb explains the facts we have - a plane appears to be working normally and then vanishes apparently into the sea. It's not as though we haven't had numerous (foiled) plots to blow up airliners in the relatively recent past. Tialaramex (talk) 10:11, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Not to mention the successful ones...--ZooGuard (talk) 10:31, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Short of people saying HARRP or Aliens, at this stage, any theory is more suspicions, then conspiracies. --Revolverman (talk) 09:16, 10 March 2014 (UTC)


I haven't seen anything explicitly ruling this out, but I might not have looked hard enough. Hollywood shows radar as presenting everything as a moving blip, but it turns out when it comes to modern radar for commercial operations it is normal to configure the radar to only show things that "squawk" their ID in response to the radar signal, reflections that don't squawk are filtered out in software. This gives a nice clear display (showing the traffic ATC are responsible for and nothing else) but hijackers on the 11th of September 2001 switched off the squawk feature, vanishing. In some cases the ground teams responded by reconfiguring their radar to "primary" mode and manually following the anonymous blip (this is really hard, it's impressive that people did this well enough in WW2 to make any difference to the outcome) but in other cases they didn't think of doing that. Is it possible that the Malaysia Airlines flight just stopped squawking, but continued flying, at least for some time? Tialaramex (talk) 08:53, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

I don't see why not. Perhaps I've watched too much Mayday, but it seems like Air Traffic controls are so busy it would be easy for them to not notice a plane otherwise normal stop squawking in the middle of the flight (statistically the safest part of the flight), when you have take offs and landings to deal with. --Revolverman (talk) 09:14, 10 March 2014 (UTC)